Purpose: To present the most frequent occult pathologies unexpectedly encountered via cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), with particular reference to the diagnostic role of the dentist and that of the radiographer, with a view to clarifying where the diagnostic responsibility lies.
Material and methods: A narrative literature review on the most diffused occult pathologies under CBCT was conducted, with iconographical guide as an example for each category.
Results: The most frequent forms of unexpected pathologies encountered are: the presence of foreign bodies, airway anomaly, and the presence of radio-opacity or -transparency in the maxillofacial district.
Conclusions: The orthodontists must know that they are responsible to recognize these frequent, and potentially serious, pathologies of the head and neck. If the dentist feels unable to take on this responsibility, he or she should, however, be sure to have the scans read by a specialist radiologist.
Keywords: cone-beam computed tomography; occult pathologies; orthodontic.