Cone Beam Computed Tomography 101 Course

radiation averse patients

Cone Beam Computed Tomography 101 Course

By now you’ve likely heard about cone beam computed tomography, more commonly referred to as CBCT. As the technology becomes increasingly more affordable and CBCT scanners continue to replace conventional imaging systems in offices nationwide, you may have considered purchasing one yourself. However, as with any major purchase, you may have held off due to a lack of information, or you simply may not see the value.

Of course, different methods work for different people, but if you have ever been curious about CBCT’s applications to your work and your practice, this article will equip you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.


How does Cone Beam Computed Tomography Work?

CBCT technology was designed with the intention of providing excellent three-dimensional imaging quality without the high levels of radiation often associated with such clarity. The scanner rotates around the patient’s head while generating a cone-shaped beam that captures hundreds of two-dimensional image “slices” in seconds. These images are automatically assembled to produce a crystal-clear 3D rendering. This is accomplished with the help of two key components, the focal spot and the voxel.


Focal Spot

The area in the target of the X-ray tube that is struck by the electron stream, which increases the sampling density while reducing aliasing artifacts. Focal spot sizes can vary widely among CBCT scanners, and it is important to note that, perhaps counterintuitively, the smaller the size of the focal spot, the clearer the image will be.



Rooted in the words “volumetric” and “pixel,” a Voxel is the smallest 3D element of volume, often depicted in a cube shape. The use of voxels in CBCT imaging allows the precise measurement of structures that will be accurate in all three orthogonal planes. In scanners, voxels are measured in millimeters and the radio density of the voxel itself is measured in Hounsfield units.


What are the advantages of CBCT?

While image quality is generally the headline when it comes to cone beam CT technology, as well it should be, the resulting benefits become much more tangible.


Better diagnosing

Such high imaging clarity affords clinicians more confidence in diagnosing for a variety of factors. They are granted the ability to conduct spatial examinations which yield far more insight than the prohibitive static images of a 2D X-ray. Mouth tissues are also rendered with incredible accuracy, allowing for a more thorough assessment of each case.


Boundless clinical applications

From accurately assessing periodontal health to planning for implants to determining bone density and quality, CBCT seemingly has applications in every specialty. What’s more, it can empower practice owners to expand their offerings in order to boost production.


Increased case acceptance

The clarity afforded by these imagines helps repair the communication breakdown between doctor and patient that would otherwise lead them to decline treatment. With a dynamic and true-to-life representation of their mouth or jaw, patients tend to A) understand their case more than they could with unsophisticated imaging and highly clinical language, and B) put more trust in the clinician having seen the issue with their very own eyes.


Increased production

As you can imagine, the combination of improved diagnoses and increased case acceptance rates creates bountiful opportunities when it comes to caseload, allowing you to drive revenue and, more importantly, provide better and more plentiful treatment to your patients.


If you still have questions about CBCT or how you could utilize it in your practice, call PreXion today at 855-PREXION or find a representative in your area.