What are your experiences with a Cone Beam CT scan?

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SolitudeIsBliss

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Hi all,

As some of you may have read a while back, my dental journey became derailed when I had a panic attack during a Cone Beam CT scan. I need to have my wisdom teeth removed, along with some broken teeth extracted. I wanted to get the broken teeth extracted by the dentist, rather than the oral surgeon, but my dentist didn't seem to want to do them.

I have anxiety and new experiences become difficult. I'm quite tall and it seemed to take a while to get me in the perfect position to do the scan, which put me in an uncomfortable position and just drew out the process. The technician told me that I had to stay very still while doing it and suddenly it seemed like it was impossible to stay still. It's like when someone says "don't think about an elephant" and you immediately think of an elephant. I was asked to bite down on a wooden bite piece. This was quite difficult because my teeth on the bottom are quite crooked and not even in height. I also have two teeth missing. I couldn't keep the bite piece stable, causing it to rock in my mouth and my jaw to shake.

I've read some articles on the web that claim that a Cone Beam CT scan is over very quickly (10 - 20 seconds). I needed both my jaws scanned which may have made it longer but my experience with it was that it lasted quite a while - long enough to make remaining perfectly still quite a large ask. It seemed to take 10 - 20 seconds just for the machine to warm up.

What's other people's experiences with Cone Beam CT scans been? Did you find it difficult? How long did it take for you? Any tips on how to do it successfully?

Thanks.
 
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krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Solitude,

I just had one in January, I would guess about 30 seconds. I have problems biting the right way too as my teeth are sort of all of the place in height and have some missing. The bite is awful. I was able to bite well enough after some coaching from my dentist and he was extremely patient with me getting to the right place and me being ready. So I think that helps. All in all it really didn't take too long . I SO hear you on the "don't think about ........" yes, its like then you have to think about it almost.

I also hear you on wanting your dentist to do the extractions. I am always more comfortable having my own dentist do any of the work if they can feel confident about it. My last dentist advised I go to an endo for one of my retreats.. that was really new as I had always cancelled my specialist appts before but ended up going to this one. Do you have a consult with an oral surgeon? Hope you will find a good one that you will be comfortable with.
 
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SolitudeIsBliss

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Solitude,

I just had one in January, I would guess about 30 seconds. I have problems biting the right way too as my teeth are sort of all of the place in height and have some missing. The bite is awful. I was able to bite well enough after some coaching from my dentist and he was extremely patient with me getting to the right place and me being ready. So I think that helps. All in all it really didn't take too long . I SO hear you on the "don't think about ........" yes, its like then you have to think about it almost.

I also hear you on wanting your dentist to do the extractions. I am always more comfortable having my own dentist do any of the work if they can feel confident about it. My last dentist advised I go to an endo for one of my retreats.. that was really new as I had always cancelled my specialist appts before but ended up going to this one. Do you have a consult with an oral surgeon? Hope you will find a good one that you will be comfortable with.

Hey Kr,

Thanks for your reply!

Getting some coaching from the dentist is a great idea. Where you are, do they do the Cone Beam CT at the dentist? I guess I could also try and find something that recreates the bite piece and work out a position which is most stable.

I will need to go back to the oral surgeon to get another referral to get the scan. I really didn't enjoy dealing with oral surgeons - I found them to be very aloof and cold. :\
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Solitude..

"I really didn't enjoy dealing with oral surgeons - I found them to be very aloof and cold. :\ "

This has been my exact experience! So I would do anything to have my dentist do any extractions as well! Now, my daughter did have a very kind oral surgeon with great bedside manner for her extractions before braces. I was so nervous about this, but he was really nice both in the consult and the extractions , to me and her. My sister in law also had a really pleasant experience with one. But I have found the same thing you have.. I'm really glad my new dentist seems to have experience in more complicated extractions as he's an emergency dentist.

I did the cone beam scam at my dentist office. which he personally took me back and did it and was really nice about it. I'm really glad about this.. Do you have any oral surgeons in mind that seem good with anxious patients? I know when I went to my endo I looked at a ton of reviews and found one that had a few really good "anxious patient" reviews.. and he indeed was really good . So that may give you a good idea before you walk in the door.
 
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SolitudeIsBliss

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I've seen two oral surgeons. One was absolutely awful and arrogant. The other was bearable enough to deal with but still aloof and cold. After my experience with my dentist, who is very warm and easy going, it was a pretty big shock. Funnily enough, the worse of the two had excellent reviews about how kind and caring he was. I wondered if he or his staff had written those reviews because the reviews and person I met were nothing alike. Perhaps it is just me or maybe I caught him on a bad day. My experience of aloofness with specialists isn't particularly limited to oral surgeons either. This past few months I've had to see a cardiologist for pericarditis and I've found the same aloofness with them also.

I'm going to try another dentist that I was going to see when I first began this process but they didn't get back to me until I had already booked in to see my current dentist. I'll see if they will do the extractions. My current dentist is fantastic but I feel like I might have reached the end of what they can do for me. They were an excellent choice to get me started. I might ask this dentist do they have any recommendations of oral surgeons for people like me. The dentist that I'm thinking of seeing specialises in treating patients with phobia, so perhaps they know of oral surgeons who can accomodate for this. It seems like each dentist has their own go to oral surgeons. I live in smaller city, so options for oral surgeons are somewhat limited.

I wish it worked the same here in Australia. You can't do the scan at the dentist, nor can your dentist refer you. You have to get the oral surgeon to refer you to a specialist radiology clinic to get it done. I'd love to be able to get the cone beam scan done at the dental clinic.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Solitude..

Ahhh bummer you cannot do it there at the office. that would seem quite a bit of runaround , and then to deal with people you don't know.. I hope you get kind people along the way,

This is great the dentist you are thinking of specializes in anxious patients. I hope he /she is a kind one that really cares.. Its really interesting how some do have great reviews like you say then you go and you wonder what they were talking about totally different experience. Specialists it just always seemed to me were not as invested as they knew you'd be there very lmited time so they didn't maybe have to be as caring, I felt it was more about efficiency for them than comfort for me. But I'm sure there are some specialists who really do care.

One side bit. I volunteered for 2 days at a free dental event last year , as an ambassador , signing people in , greeting them, and escorting patients to various areas. There were alot of very compassionate specialists I met that were doing kind, free work for 2 days so that was a really good view of some specialists.
 
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MountainMama

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I had a cone beam scan last month. It is really hard to hold still, and I will also agree that the positioning is awkward. I had a hard time with the bite stick as well, because my front tooth is the issue and is quite tender. They had to do it twice before they got a good image. It was done at the endodontist's office.

I actually would prefer to get my teeth extracted at my oral surgeon, for two reasons. First, my dental office offers no sedation options, while I can get nitrous at the oral surgeon. Second, the oral surgeon is wonderful and has a great bedside manner, and talks me through everything.

I know what you mean, though, because I went to a different oral surgeon, referred by my endodontist, to get an extra wisdom tooth removed last year. He was very cold and aloof. That doesn't helo when you have anxiety. I had explained my issues with difficulty numbing, then he asked me questions that showed me he hadn't listened to a word I said. I asked my dentist for a different referral for the next extraction.
 
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geos

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I'm in Canada and I was referred to a clinic that does the CBCT scans. The clinic is owned by a periodontist and the clinic is situated on the same floor as one of the large periodontist clinic.

I'm 1m85 (6ft1) so in my case the machine brushed over my shoulders. Now that you mentioned it, I would say I also found it difficult to stay in place after they said I needed to stay very still. I started feeling not at ease when they asked me to bite and stay still. I focused on the noise the machine was making and on the instructions the person was giving me and kept telling myself it would be over soon and was able to get a good result on the 1st try. I'm not sure, but I think the actual scan took around 15 seconds, but yes it did take a bit of time to fully warm up, maybe another 20 seconds. I'm not sure, but I think the fact that I was a bit rushed since I messed up my travelling plans and got there a few minutes late didn't help me at being calm and relax.
 
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CourageAndBraveryASAP

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I had one last month, but I'm only 5'2 and I was so scared of an actual exam of my mouth that I happily went for the CBCT. I didn't love biting down on the little piece because I have jaw pain at the dentist from staying open, but the hygienist helping said I didn't have to bite hard, just enough to be stable and perfectly still.

Any chance of help relaxing with some rescue remedy or meditation or something pharmaceutical your doctor might recommend?
 
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MountainMama

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I came back to this thread because I had one done today at the oral surgeon. I told the tech that my front tooth is really tender and she took the bite stick off and let me just hold my mouth open. That actually made it so much easier to hold still
 
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