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Can Oral Surgeons Order CT Scans in Ontario?

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A woman about to have a CT scan done, while a female nurse operates the machine

Oral surgeons make up one of nine specializations in dentistry. They are recognized and regulated by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO). 

A team of doctors at Credit Valley Oral Surgery specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries to the human mouth and face. Oral surgeons diagnose, remove, treat or repair diseased or damaged structures in the mouth, maxillofacial (behind the nose), and facial bones. 

Oral surgeons practise in hospitals and private clinics and are authorized to order and read CT (computed tomography) scans. Let’s explore CT scans and different types in more detail. 

What Are CT Scans?

When healthcare professionals, including dentists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons, need to take a deeper look inside the body, face, or mouth, they use CT scans. These provide even more information than x-rays and ultrasounds. 

A CT scan examines internal structures within the body without invasive surgery. It takes multiple images using a computer and a rotating x-ray machine to produce a series of pictures.

The cross-sectional images show bones, internal organs, blood vessels, and tissues. CT scans are taken in slices with cross-sectional imaging from head to foot or side to side.

Benefits of CT Scans

The benefits of having CT scans outweigh the risks. 

  • A focused x-ray beam reduces radiation scatter with better image quality.
  • One scan provides multiple views and angles for a complete evaluation.
  • Cone beam CT or CBCT scans give more information than conventional dental x-rays and thus exact treatment planning.
  • The procedure is painless and noninvasive.
  • Ability to show images of bone and tissue at the same time.  
  • There are no immediate side effects to the x-rays used for CT scans. 
A female nurse operating a CT scanner for a male patient lying down

Why Do Oral Surgeons Order CT Scans?

The most common reason someone needs a CT scan prior to oral surgery is to obtain a highly detailed 3D image of the affected area. Oral surgeons can use the findings to digitally plan the most effective approach to treatment and obtain the best possible outcome for the patient. 

They can also assess the need for further treatment and predict the degree of recovery. Cone beam CT is commonly used to evaluate, diagnose and treat the following:

  • Jaw fractures or injuries
  • Jaw pain or difficulty chewing
  • Dentures (mouth prosthesis) complications
  • Dental implant placement
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Evaluating sinuses and nasal cavity
  • Jaw tumours
  • Reconstructive surgery

Difference Between 2D and 3D Scans

2D x-rays and CT scans are two different medical imaging tests using imaging devices. If your oral surgeon has ordered one of these for you, it’s helpful if you understand what they are and the differences between them. 

2D X-Ray

X-rays are widely available and more commonly used to see bones and detect cancers. They create 2D images and use radiation to produce those images. 

It’s typically the first diagnostic imaging test requested before more sophisticated scans. As the radiation passes through the body, it absorbs in different amounts depending on the density of tissues. Bone blocks radiation and appears whiter than other tissues. 

3D CT Scan

Cone beam CT or CBCT scans are the choice when regular dental x-rays or facial x-rays don’t provide sufficient information. Dentists and oral surgeons use the images to aid in implant dentistry, diagnose more severe cases, or complicated procedures. 

The technology produces three-dimensional images of teeth, soft tissues, bone, and nerve pathways. In a single scan, it can cover the entire craniofacial region. With the advanced technology of CBCT scanners, other uses include endodontics and orthodontics.

Dental CBCT scans are different from conventional CT scans and have lower radiation exposure. In CBCT, the x-ray beam is in the shape of a cone that moves around the patient to produce hundreds of images. 

Cone Beam Computer Tomography

At Credit Valley Oral Surgery, we understand your concerns and are committed to the highest level of patient care and safety. You can rest assured we are your advocates and have your best interest at heart.

That is why we have invested in 3D CBCT machines. With increased treatment accuracy and predictability in the outcome, you can visually understand a diagnosis and your treatment options. 
Call us to find out how we can help improve the quality of your life with successful treatments involving the mouth, jaw, face, and skull.

Written by CVOS

Credit Valley Oral Surgery’s first location opened its doors in Mississauga in 1979. Quickly, CVOS Oral Surgery grew a reputation for itself as the place to go for quality oral and maxillofacial surgeries. In 1981, only 2 short years later, CVOS Oral Surgery opened its second clinic in Milton.

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Patient and Doctor Information

Our Locations

Burlington North

CVOS Oral Surgery is located on the corner of Walkers Line and Dundas Street East in North Burlington at the Headon Forest Shopping Centre.

  • #200-3600 Dundas Street East
  • Burlington, ON

Burlington South

CVOS is located just off Hwy 403 (Queen Elizabeth Parkway), on Harvester Road with ample parking available.

  • #403-3155 Harvester Road
  • Burlington, ON


Our office is location on Commercial Street, right across from Brian Best Park, with ample parking available.

  • #203-311 Commercial Street
  • Milton, ON


Conveniently located near Highway 403 off of the Erin Mills Parkway, our office is in the same complex as the Credit Valley Hospital.

  • #302-2300 Eglinton Ave. West
  • Mississauga, ON


Conveniently located off Highway 403 (Queen Elizabeth Way) and Trafalgar Road, our building has plenty of convenient parking for you.

  • #311-1235 Trafalgar Road
  • Oakville, ON
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