What Is Cone Beam CT Scanning?
Think of it as a photo booth for your teeth. The three dimensional (3D) images that a computed tomography (CT) x-ray machine provides may not be as fun as the pictures that high school students get at the photo booths at their prom, but the dental world is of the opinion that the latest “prop” in their offices is pretty exciting.
A 3D cone beam CT is a machine that can provide even more profiles and images on a single display than any photo booth a bride plans to have at her wedding. Used as an avenue to get a variety of dental images from the same machine, the screen documents, which can also be printed, can be shown as black and white x-rays, full color head shots, and even as skeletal images of an entire set of teeth, as well as the jaw and skull.
Before the 3D cone beam CT, dental images which were available as two dimensional images simply did not present the detail that dentists needed. With this 3D technology which requires the dental patient to step into the part of the machine that wraps itself around the entire back of the head, the dentist and dental assistants can see teeth, gums, bone structure and other important details.
Using industrial computed tomography equipment to view the bone and view the density in three dimensions, dentists can also go into the bank of images and rotate the view they want. This allows, for example, a dentist to understand the possible complexities of the roots that might be wrapped around bones. Because resolution size corresponds to a pixel size as small as 0.16 mm, this minute pixel size can be set to directly relate to the resolution of any needed spatial view. This pixel size technology also provides an opportunity to virtually place a planned dental implant, providing a view all the way around the tooth to make sure that it will look natural from all sides.
X-ray inspection services and 3D cone beam CT machines are a part of the industrial CT scanning platform that provides detailed images of the human body, as well as industrial parts. By using x-rays that can be taken as quickly as 30 frames in a second and combining these images with CT scans, entire industries can examine nearly everything, from the contents that are in a traveler’s suitcase, to the exact measurement of a small engine part for the purposes of reverse engineering.
While a dental office may purchase their 3D imaging device and have it in the office to be used many times during the day, larger 3D imaging machines used in industrial settings are often owned by a scanning provider. By contracting their imaging services out, these providers can reduce the industry cost of new parts production. A close inspection of a prototype, for example, can limit failure analysis costs by as much as 25% to 75% when compared to existing efforts without 3D technology.
Step into the booth, my friend, and let’s see what we can do for you, your office, and your industry.