A History and a Look at the Future of Cone Beam Imaging

Cone beam imaging is relatively new to dentistry, but the technology is already making an impact on the practice. At its core, cone beam imaging allows dentists to take more detailed images of their patients’ teeth or jaws than via regular CT scans. Dentists, in turn, can make a more accurate diagnosis of their patients’ condition and plan better their care.

Essentially, cone beam imaging is a more advanced form of CT scanning. According to an article in The Dentistry iQ Network, cone beam imaging evolved from the work of Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield, who invented CT technology in the 1970’s. After cone beam made its introduction in the European market in 1996, it reached the U.S. market in 2001.

Despite the same technology basis, cone beam imaging differs from regular CT scanning. While CT scans use a fan-shaped beam that rotates around the patient, cone beam scans utilize a cone-shaped beam directed at a detector rotating around the patient. Unlike CT scanning, cone beam can apply to dentistry.

Since then, more dentists have been finding value in cone beam imaging. The technology can scan a patient’s entire jaws for its bones, tissues and blood vessels. Given that scanning provides finite details of their patients’ teeth or jaws, dentists can see the complex structures and have an easier time performing their treatment.

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