CBCT Dental Imaging Technique – How Far Along are we?

Published On: January 2018

The Story So Far

Over the past few years in the field of dentistry, radiographic imaging has evolved from a conventional two-dimensional technique to a three-dimensional modality. Cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) has been referred to as the gold standard and standard of care in diagnostic maxillofacial imaging. There have been an increasing references in the dental literature towards the utility of CBCT in clinical dental practice.

Dental cone beam computed tomography is a special type of X-ray equipment used when regular dental or facial X-rays are not sufficient. The technology is used to produce three dimensional images of the teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways, and bone in a single scan. The CBCT dental imaging industry is growing rapidly. The increasing use of 3D radiographic imaging in orthodontics and increasing adoption of CBCT imaging by dental professionals has boosted the revenue of this market.

The Flat Panel Detectors (FPDs) are the next generation digital X-ray technology. These detectors consists of amorphous silicon and solid state technology that produce digital imaging in radiography while the image intensifiers are those devices which are capable of detecting and amplifying low-light-level images such as weak emissions or reflected light for bringing them into view as sharp contrast images. The use of image intensifiers is decreasing on account of the deteriorating image quality while the flat panel detectors exhibit very limited image degradation which has increased the use of FPD systems more in CBCT machines.

The use of CBCT devices is on the rise due to the increasing number of dental specialty hospitals and laboratories in the Americas which has led to the augmented adoption of CBCT in the global market. In the Americas, the market’s growth is high as public-private dental schools are increasing, with approximately 80% of them being used in private practice as a replacement for panoramic devices. In the U.S. alone, nearly 800 CBCT’s are sold per year. The use of CBCT machines is increasing at such a rate that it is expected that within three years this technology will replace over 50% of digital panoramic devices. There are many major players in this market which are competing to increase their market. Companies like Danaher Corporation, Planmeca OY and Dentsply Sirona are the leading players in this market globally.

Benefits and drawbacks of CBCT dental imaging system

Benefits: The time required to produce a CBCT image is much less than a standard CT check. The CBCT picture just requires a solitary rotation of the X-ray source amid which the greater part of the required pictures are procured. The time expected to obtain an image is less than a minute, however the reconstruction of the picture can take up to 20 minutes, albeit most needn't bother with that much time.

As the CBCT system takes less time to scan than traditional CT scans, the radiation dose emitted in CBCT imaging is also reduced. A FOV of a CBCT image involves a radiation dose of 29 μSv to 477 μSv.4. The procedure of CBCT imaging system decreases radiation emission from 1.3% to 22.7% when compared to a traditional CT scan.

Another preferred standpoint of CBCT imaging is its precision and accuracy. Due to the voxel resolution, the procedure can deliver precision in all dimensions of the image. CBCT's collimation empowers the X-ray beam to be focused just around the areas of interest.

In this manner, the ideal level of radiation frequency can be chosen depending upon what should be imaged. CBCT likewise creates images in all three planes of space, which isn't conceivable in intraoral or panoramic radiographs. Measurement algorithms, for example, scaling and zooming, enable the clinician to highlight anatomic regions required for diagnosis.

Drawbacks: There are few confinements to utilizing CBCT systems, including an absence of lucidity with a few images. Additionally, numerous pathologies can, at present, be detected using traditional radiographs, along these lines decreasing the requirement for CBCT imaging. In spite of the fact that radiation introduction is not as much as a traditional CT system, CBCT imaging still opens the patient to more radiation than a full-mouth arrangement of radiographs. The lucidity of CBCT images is influenced by artifacts, which are radiographic elements from the CBCT unit that adds to loss of detail and leads to a grainy appearance or noise, and poor soft tissue contrast of the image.

New product launches in North America CBCT Dental Imaging Market

The manufacturers in the region are developing new product in order to gain a significant market share in this growing industry. The primary aspect which represents the overall development of any company is its product. This category includes the product launches, in addition to the enhancements and developments in the existing products and related products. Since, the market has started gaining attraction; companies across the globe have been striving hard to bring about innovations in 3D radiographic imaging devices and services, depending upon the demand of the consumers. The growth of the market can be attributed to the development in technology and consequently new devices and products. With the escalating competition, many independent device manufacturing companies are claiming to offer products which are new, innovative, and different from the ones already existing in the market. In light of this trend, the market is gaining considerable momentum through the opportunities for personalization and customization which the new entrants have to offer.

For instance, in March 2017, Planmeca OY introduced the next generation of CBCT imaging i.e. Planmeca Viso with added features such as adjustable FOV and intelligent patient movement correction.


The increasing product development in the North America region will lead to huge market growth in the coming years.