Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do I need these images?
2. What is the difference between this procedure and the x-rays that my dentist takes?
3. Will I need to come back again?
4. How and when will my doctor get the results?
5. Should I come back with my child into the x-ray room?
6. Is this procedure safe?
7. How much radiation exposure do I receive?
8. Will you cover me with a lead apron?
9. If x-rays are so safe, why does the technician leave the room?
10. Will you bill my insurance?
11. Are the things that go in my mouth clean?
12. Why is this procedure so expensive?
13. Do I have to schedule an appointment?

1.) Why do I need these images?
X-rays and photographs are an important part of your treatment. Whether you are beginning treatment, finishing, or a "work in progress," these records help your doctor visualize parts of your anatomy that can't be seen with the naked eye. The images will show the bones of the jaw and face, the roots of the teeth, and many other hard tissue structures of the head and neck. The photographs show soft tissue aspects of the patient's anatomy that can't be visualized in the x-rays. Together, they provide part of what your doctor needs to properly diagnose and treat you. These records, combined with your personal health history, study models, and your doctor's expertise, help assure that you receive proper care and follow up.

2.) What is the difference between this procedure and the x-rays that my dentist takes?
Often your dentist is most interested in the crowns of the teeth and is looking for cavities that need attention. The orthodontist on the other hand, is more interested in the roots of the teeth and the bone supporting the teeth. These images will show all areas well. Our goal is to provide high quality images that can be used by both of these specialists. We provide procedures that are not readily available outside a dental imaging lab, including Cone Beam Volume Scans which provide 3D visualization of your maxillofacial anatomy. These include panoramic views, various skull views, color photographs, and a number of other special procedures. Many of these procedures are so specialized that it would be far too costly for your doctor to own and operate the equipment in their office. Consequently, we can provide your doctor the exact procedures needed at a much lower cost to you. The fact that you were referred to us shows the high regard your doctor has for your health care as well as your finances.

3.) Will I need to come back again?
Images will be processed and checked before you are dismissed from the lab. This ensures that all procedures have been done correctly and takes only a few minutes. Depending on your stage of treatment, your doctor may request additional images after reviewing the records and evaluating your progress. If your doctor does not discuss what records will normally be required during treatment, be sure to ask him or her
for clarification.

4.) How and when will my doctor get the results?
When you are dismissed from the lab, your records are only partially complete. Photographs are processed and printed, after a computer analysis is performed on them. After putting the final finishing touches on your records, the whole case is rechecked before being delivered to your doctor. The complete process takes a few days, with another day or two for delivery. With only rare exceptions, your records will be in your doctor's office within one week. Please let us know if this presents a problem. Sometimes we can speed up the process.

5.) Should I come back with my child into the x-ray room?
We acknowledge that some of our younger patients may be more comfortable with a parent in the general vicinity. We will allow you to stand just outside the x-ray rooms if you or your child feels strongly about it.

6.) Is this procedure safe?
As in many areas of our lives, there is a certain risk involved with x-rays. Your doctor has decided that the benefit of having these images far outweighs the risk. While dental x-rays involve very low doses of radiation, there are several things that we do to further reduce the dose. These include adequate shielding, proper maintenance of equipment, and above all, the correct and appropriate performance of the procedures by competent, licensed personnel. Our facility is all-digital. Digital x-rays reduce the amount of radiation to the patient by up to 80%! We sincerely believe that no office or lab can provide you a safer set of x-rays!

7.) How much radiation exposure do I receive?
Attempting to express radiation dose in a meaningful measurement is very difficult. Radiation can be measured at the point of entry (skin dose), within the exposed tissues (absorbed dose), or distributed over the whole body (effective or equivalent dose). The effective dose is often the easiest to understand because it compares x-ray dose to the equivalent background exposure that we receive from our everyday environment. During a typical dental x-ray series, your exposure will equal approximately 1 days of background equivalent exposure. A Cone Beam Volume Scan has less radiation than one panoramic x-ray and provides 360 degrees of data of the entire head! As you can see, even the most comprehensive series of x-rays results in a relatively insignificant exposure to the patient.

8.) Will you cover me with a lead apron?
Every patient is draped with a lead apron during every procedure! Not only is this required by law, it also helps relieve the anxiety that many patients feel when exposed to x-rays. The primary purpose of the lead apron is to protect sensitive organs from primary and/or secondary radiation. Although radiation levels for dental procedures are very low, wearing a lead apron helps ensure that no other parts of the body are needlessly exposed.

9.) If x-rays are so safe, why does the technician leave the room?
As we've seen from the recent rise in sun induced skin cancers, the effects of continuous exposure to low levels of radiation often go unnoticed until it is too late. For the patient, today's x-rays may be the only ones he or she receives for several years. For the operator, your x-rays are only one of a dozen or more they will receive today! If unprotected, most operators would receive more radiation in one day than a patient would receive in a lifetime! Consequently, x-ray rooms are set up so that procedures cannot be performed unless the operator is positioned out of the exposure area. This is usually behind a leaded wall. Law requires it and common sense agrees that a complete radiation safety program will protect patients and operators from any unnecessary exposure to x-rays.

10.) Will you bill my insurance?
We ask that your scan be paid for in full at the time of service. Insurance companies will not reimburse us for our services because we are not network providers. We will provide you with a receipt that you can submit to your insurance provider. They will reimburse you directly for any services that they are willing to cover. Please contact your insurance carrier for coverage information.

11.) Are the things that go in my mouth clean?
Cone Beam scans do not require anything to be placed in your mouth. Your Doctor may wish for you to wear a mouthguard during the scan, if that is part of you treatment. However, our lab follows all current OSHA and EPA regulations regarding the possible transmission of infectious body fluids and the disposal of potentially hazardous materials. We do this to ensure your safety and the safety of our employees. Our practice of "universal precautions" assumes that every patient is potentially infectious. We combine barrier techniques with disposable products whenever possible. Reusable items receive high level disinfection or are sterilized. It's important to note however that unlike a dental office, we do not perform any "invasive" procedures and none of our work is done in a "sterile" environment. Our lab does not create or dispose of any regulated biological waste. We are registered with the EPA, and all of our potentially hazardous materials are disposed of according to local, state and federal regulations.

12.) Why is this procedure so expensive?
The Cone Beam Volume Scan is new technology that provides CT-scan quality images for lower radiation and lower cost than typical CT scans. The imaging software, printers, and the machine itself are all very expensive to own and operate, and the scans require lots of expertise and time to work up and prepare for your doctor. You can feel confident that your doctor is receiving the most thorough set of images available
at a competitive price to diagnose and treat you for your individual needs.

13.) Do I have to schedule an appointment?
We ask that you please call the office that you wish to visit to schedule an appointment to help prevent long wait times both for you and other patients. We will do our best to work with your schedule and ours to make your visit as convenient as possible.

Volumetric Imaging Centers
of Pittsburgh
2 Locations to serve you better
Suite# 16  750 Washington Road Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228
Suite#105 7031 Crider Road Mars, PA 16046
(888) 2MY-SCAN