What is a CT scan?

Put most simply, a CT scan is used to take detailed 3D imagery of the inside of your body. It can be used on all parts of the anatomy, from arms and legs to the torso, head, and mouth, which can help medical professionals diagnose conditions or assess how well treatment pathways might be working.

The computed tomography (CT) scan provides 3d cross-sectional images of all parts of the anatomy, from the soft tissues and blood vessels to bones and implants or prosthetics.
This is achieved by aiming a narrow beam of X-rays at the patient and quickly rotating this beam around the body, generating signals that are processed by the CT scanner’s computer to generate images or slices.

Before you go for a CT scan in London, or wherever you live in the UK, you may be given a contrast medium – a dye that helps to show more details on the scan – this may make you feel flushed but neither the contrast medium nor the scan itself will hurt or cause you any pain.

CT scan for dental implants

If you are considering dental implants for tooth loss, your implantologist will need to ensure your anatomy will allow dental implants to be fitted and will be properly supported.
To check this, you will likely need a CT scan of your mouth, which will check many things, including:

  • That you have sufficient bone quantity and good-quality bone.
  • There are no complicating anatomical factors that can affect implant placement and success, including tissue levels and nerve positions.
  • The size and shape of the jawbone, which influences possible dental implant placement locations.

All of which will help to create a bespoke treatment plan that brings you the best quality results.

The CT scan in London shouldn’t take much longer than a few minutes and you should try your best to sit back and relax – but if you are nervous don’t hesitate to ask our friendly, understanding staff for support.

How many CT scans can I have?

Some patients are nervous about CT scans because they are worried about radiation exposure, which is measured in millisieverts (mSv).

Radiation from a CT scan typically ranges from 1-10 mSv, depending on the part of the body being scanned and the size of the patient.

In comparison, natural background radiation can total around 3 mSv per year, making it a worthwhile diagnostic procedure for most patients – no matter how many you have.

CBCT (cone beam CT ) scans are predominantly used for dental treatments, and also commonly use a lower dose of radiation too – making them even safer.

Some patients, however, are more susceptible to the effects of radiation, including:

  • Those who have undergone radiation therapy.
  • Atomic bomb survivors.
  • Those who are allergic to the contrast medium, iodine, or shellfish, or are sensitive to particular medications.
  • Patients with kidney problems, including kidney failure – as the contrast medium can affect their conditions.
  • Women who are pregnant or suspect they may be.
  • Those with metallic objects inside the body, such as a pacemaker, or those with body piercings.
  • Patients who have recently undergone barium studies.

If this applies to you, you must make sure to mention this to your implantologist during your consultation, so alternative scans or precautionary measures can be taken.

How effective are CT scans?

CT scans are highly effective diagnostic tests and play an essential role in determining suitability for dental implants and helping professionals propose bespoke treatment plans.

CT scans have around 99% accuracy, making them essential for your implantologist to determine if you are a suitable candidate for dental implants, and where to position the implants – which can be calculated using the detailed 3D imagery from the scan.

CT scans in London, and elsewhere in the UK, can be completed with or without contrast, depending on the need for the CT scan and the health of the patients.

There is some difference in the efficacy of CT scans with or without the use of a contrast medium – as the medium actively helps the medical professional to view the inside of the body. However, most patients receiving a CT scan for dental implants generally don’t include the use of a contrast medium – unless advised otherwise.

CT Scan: Jaw Bone Infection Diagnosis

If you are living with jaw bone infections, also called osteomyelitis, diagnosis can be made using a range of techniques, including:

  • MRI scans
  • Panoramic radiography or dental X-rays
  • Oral cavity photography
  • Clinical diagnostic examinations

However, if you are not eligible for MRI scans or panoramic radiography, a CT scan is a useful alternative.

Will a CT scan show a tooth infection?

Because of the detail and 3D nature of CT scans, it is possible to diagnose a tooth infection, or a dental abscess, with this type of imagery. It also allows medical professionals to see exactly which teeth are affected, making treatment more efficient.
However, other methods can be used to diagnose such dental problems, including X-rays and physical examinations.

Dental CT Scan Cost

If you need a CT scan before you can get started with dental implant treatment, you may be worried that a CT scan in London will be expensive. 

However, while it is an extra expense, it is very worthwhile and can make treatment plans bespoke and much more efficient. 

At MIC, a CT scan and Panoramic X-ray will cost £95 and can be included as part of dental implant financing.

Does Dental Insurance Cover CBCT Scan?

A CBCT scan is a cone beam CT, which produces 3D images of your jaws and teeth – making it especially useful for dental treatments.

Although it will depend on your insurance provider specifically, most scans, including CBCT scans, are covered, if medically necessary or as part of the dental implant process.
However, it is always worth checking beforehand, to limit the chances of unpleasant surprises.


Marylebone Implant Centre has decades of experience providing first-class dental implants – including CT scans in London. 

The inclusion of CBCT scans makes treatment more bespoke and can lower the risk of implant failure, making it a very important part of the process here at MIC. 

If you would like to book a consultation for dental implants in London, you can call us on 020 3285 6147 or email our team at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.