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Do you need CBCT imaging before dental implant surgery?



Junior member
Aug 24, 2023
I'm nervous after finding out that my dentist isn't doing CBCT imaging before my implant surgery (for 2 top teeth). I won't be able to find out until the day of the appointment if they're doing an X-Ray instead, or not doing imaging at all. The appointment also involves bone grafts and sinus lifts. I just don't want any damage to anything in my face, especially not to the nerves or bones.

One bright side is that, my dentist has 3-4 good reviews on their implant process and recovery being painless, and one review says my dentist was a former ENT surgeon. The practice only has about 50 reviews I could find. The office assistant also said it would just require local anesthesia, and that most people are even good to drive right afterwards.

My anxiety sprung an idea to to try and get a CBCT independently. But for one thing, I don't know if it would even be usable by my dentist, and it says they're $300~$600 without insurance. The office doesn't have the machine. I can't switch implant providers that quickly, but I could delay it if it really comes down to it. I've also just been staring at diagrams of facial nerves out of fear.

About me: I have congenitally missing adult teeth which the implants are for, and low bone density, neither of which I know the exact causes of. I have TMJ, and other pain, but it's not near my face. Last time I went to an ENT was over 5 years ago and they only found allergies, but there were no scans for that, and I have no idea how my sinuses are doing. The missing baby teeth have been gone for a few years, so we do know that bone grafts will be needed. It's partially been delayed by doing orthodontics first, of which I'm completing shortly before the implants. So the good news there is that I've been getting pano x-rays yearly, though the latest one is from last year. Also, I'm getting close to 30 years old. I've luckily not had any concerns with my previous dental history, anesthesia, or other medication yet.

Also, I'm just generally nervous about the implant surgery. I do already have soft meals planned, and time off to stay home and rest. But besides no exercise and travel, they said the rest of post-op is only specified at the appointment. As far as the implants themselves, I only know that my dentist usually goes for Hiossen.

Looking for anything that might help me with this. I guess one thing I'd like to know if implants without CBCT have gone fine, but anything at all is appreciated.

Happy to elaborate and answer questions, thanks for reading.
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The vast majority of implants are placed without CBCT, in fact when the father of modern implants, Branemark, was developing his initial protocols, CBCT hadn't been invented...

For upper teeth the risk of nerve damage is extremely, extremely low, due to the way nerves are diffused through the upper jaw.
I really appreciate this reply! Knowing this now, from a dentist, has me way less anxious, thank you!

I've been super busy trying to get ready for everything, but I just wanted to say thanks before I go in for it soon!
Mostly good so far, but I just have an immediate concern because I sneezed. Out of habit, I tried to hold it in. I'm hoping it doesn't do anything, especially since one (of the two) of my bone grafts/sinus lifts has a higher chance of failure due to bone loss.
<Bless you> :)

It won't matter, try not to worry about it.