Cone Beam CT

A cone beam CT is a modern imaging technology that has many applications in dentistry. It has proven to be a useful investigative modality for maxillofacial and dental imaging. It is more accurate and capable of giving a three-dimensional volumetric information in sagittal, axial and coronal planes. This article explains the techniques and the clinical uses of cone-beam computed tomography.

Cone Beam CT Explained

Cone beam CT is a radiographic imaging technique that enables accurate 3D imaging of the body’s structures and strong tissues. It is one of the most important technologies used for scanning in the field of medicine. CBCT is capable of giving sub-millimeter resolutions images and a very high diagnostic quality within a shorter period of scanning time. Radiation exposure associated with CBCT is approximately nine times less than conventional CT scanners. In addition, it provides a dimensional accuracy.

The usage of this technology now gives the dentists an imaging modality that is capable of providing a three-dimensional representation of maxillofacial images without causing harm to the body.


Technical Basis

The technique behind the CBCT modality is attributed to the use of a cone-shaped X-ray beam that has a 360-degree scanner, an X-ray source and an interchanging array of detectors that rotate simultaneously on the patient's head during maxillofacial scanning.

Clinical Uses

The cone beam CT modality has gained a huge acceptance in many healthcare facilities as a three-dimensional imaging technique. It is a perfect alternative to conventional CT scans, especially during maxillofacial scanning.


When the veneers come from the laboratory the patient's teeth will be cleaned, polished and etched to help the veneers adhere. A special cement will be used. This cement is activated by a light beam and hardens very quickly.


Application During Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery

The cone-beam CT is commonly used to identify the exact location of the jaw pathologies such as malignant tumors and inflammatory bone lesions, assess the exact location of the supernumerary teeth and examine their relation to the vital mouth structures. It is also used to identify changes in trabecular and cortical bones, especially if the disorder is associated with necrosis of the jaw.

In addition, CBCT is used to examine the pathologies associated with paranasal sinuses and to investigate obstructive sleep apnea.


Application in Endodontists

CBCT is a very crucial tool in diagnosing lesions in the apical area of the mouth. Studies have shown that the contrast of the CBCT images is very high, therefore, it can be used to differentiate between apical cysts and apical granulomas. This is done by measuring the density of the lesions in question.

Application in Implant Dentistry

The accuracy of CBCT has made it a useful tool in implant dentistry. It provides a reliable data that has led to significant improvements in case selection and bone measurement, contributing to a reduced number of implant failure. Implant planning using information generated from CBCT empowers dentists to predict and visualize the outcome before they start the procedure.


Application in Forensic Dentistry

Estimating dental age is important in forensic science. Dental age assessments can be done using CBCT. The face images created can help forensic specialists come up with an accurate measurement of the thickness of the soft tissues in the facial region.