CBCT vs Traditional Medical CT: Which is Best?

November 2, 2022

A new generation of CT machines has been introduced to the healthcare industry, known as CBCT (Cone-Beam CT). These new machines have some key differences from traditional medical CT and are gaining popularity in hospitals and imaging centers across the country due to their advanced features, improved image quality, and lower radiation doses than standard X-rays. 

But how do CBCT machines compare to traditional medical CT? In this article, we’ll look at these differences in more detail so you can decide which imaging tool is best for your situation.

What is CBCT and when it is recommended?

CT scans are one of the most common types of medical imaging. They use X-rays to show detailed pictures of the body, which are then combined to create cross-section images. The two major types of CT scans are computed tomography (CT) and cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). Unlike traditional CT scanners, in CBCT an X-ray tube and detector panel rotate around the patient capturing data with a cone-shaped X-ray beam instead of the “slices” CT scanners are typically known for.

The data received from these systems is used to reconstruct 3D images predominantly in the following specialties:

  • Dental (teeth)
  • Oral/ maxillofacial region (mouth, jaw, sinuses)
  • Ears, nose, and throat (ENT)
  • Spine (upper cervical)

CBCT Scanner vs Traditional CT Scanner

Technically, scanners and CBCT fall under the same category: computed tomography. But there are significant differences. Traditional CT uses a high-output, rotating anode X-ray tube. Cone beam tomography utilizes a low-power, medical fluoroscopy tube that provides continuous imaging throughout the scan.

Traditional computerized tomography records data with a fan-shaped X-ray beam onto image detectors arranged in an arc around the patient, producing a single slice image per scan. Each slice must overlap slightly in order to properly reconstruct the images.

The advanced cone beam technology uses a cone-shaped X-ray beam that transmits onto a solid-state area sensor for image capture, producing the complete volume image in a single rotation.

Radiation levels: Which Is The Safest Alternative

The single-turn motion image capture used in CBCT  is quicker than the traditional spiral motion of the medicat CT scanner, and can be accomplished at a lower radiation dose as a result of no overlap of slices. This type of imaging exposes a patient to less radiation than traditional CT scanners.

It also provides greater accuracy in diagnosing the condition being treated.  For example, when the head or neck are being scanned,  the sensitivity of CBCT to subtle changes in anatomy makes it an ideal tool for diagnosis. 

In addition, the lack of ionizing radiation means that it's safe for pregnant women and small children. It's also much more cost-effective. With these factors taken into consideration, CBCT has become the preferred choice for many patients in need of fast, accurate imaging without exposure to harmful radiation levels.

Reveal Diagnostics CBCT Technology

Reveal Diagnostics Oakland Dental Imaging Center acquired the latest NEWTOM GO 2D/3D CEPH TECHNOLOGY to support the mission of our entire team to provide patients with the latest and most innovative services in the field of dental imaging.

We take pride in our superior customer service and innovative, cutting-edge technology that allows us to deliver the highest resolution imaging on the market while lowering patients’ radiation exposure by as much as 75%. 

As the leading independent dental imaging center network in the San Francisco Bay Area, we provide 3D CBCT dental scans to dentists, chiropractors and ENT doctors looking for precision diagnosis.

Our caring team at Reveal Diagnostics is easy to connect with and ready to help assist with all your dental imaging needs!

Resources From Our Blog

Free Medical Radiology Reports for New Referring Orthodontists: Unlock the Benefits of CBCT Imaging
Medicare Coverage for CBCT Imaging At Reveal Diagnostics
Dental X-Rays While Pregnant – Is it Safe?
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