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Cone Beam CT vs. Traditional CT: Why CBCT Is Ideal for Your Teeth Scanning?

Dental imaging is a very crucial aspect of dentistry. It allows dentists to examine your teeth properly and diagnose problems. The sooner a problem is identified, the course of treatment, planning, and progress is charted.

Two procedures in dental imaging are often discussed- CBCT scan (CBCT) and traditional computed tomography (CT). If you have a planned dental visit and are researching your dental imaging options, this blog is for you, wherein you will learn the significant differences between CBCT and CT scans for teeth.

Read on!

Understanding Cone Bean CT Scan

CBCT is a specialized 3D scanning technique used widely in dentistry today. It is a dental 3D scanner that employs a cone-shaped X-ray beam from one side of your face, and a digital detector captures the images of your mouth. The dental images obtained are high-resolution and detailed compared to traditional CT scans. They capture images of your oral cavity and maxillofacial structures such as jaws, gums, and surrounding tissues.  Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) is a specialized imaging technique specifically designed for dental applications. It offers precise, low-dose radiation exposure and quick scan times, making it an ideal choice for a variety of dental procedures. The radiation exposure from a CBCT scan is minimal and quick since the dental X-rays only cover your face, significantly reducing radiation exposure compared to traditional CT scans.

Traditional CT Scan in Dentistry

Traditional CT or medical CT scan is a diagnostic scan technique that is used across a vast number of medical facilities across the world. In dentistry, traditional CT scans are employed to visualize dental problems and structures.

A traditional CT scan machine is large, and you must lie on the bed, which slowly goes inside the gantry. In the case of dental X-rays, you must lie with your head on the gantry side. It slowly moves inside, and once you are inside, the fan-shaped X-rays detect the image of your oral and maxillofacial structures. 

Comparing CBCT and traditional CT scan

Here are some points of differences between CBCT and CT scan.

Radiation Exposure

CBCT is a machine aimed solely at dental imaging, and thus, it uses lower radiation than a traditional dental CT scan. Minimizing radiation is a priority in dentistry, and a CBCT teeth scanner helps achieve this.

Scan Time

CBCT offers quicker scan times than traditional CT. It means less time in the imaging device and less discomfort for the patient.

Image Resolution

CBCT scans are much better  than traditional CT teeth scanners. The high-resolution and detailed images are well-suited for dental applications, allowing dentists  to examine your oral and maxillofacial structures better.

Field of View

A traditional CT scan has a handful of FOVs, but a CBCT scan machine is designed to cover various FOVs. With CBCT machines, dentists can choose the FOV they need for a specific problem or the part they want to examine. It is very ideal for dental diagnosis.


You will be amazed that CBCT machines are more cost-effective than traditional CT scanners.

Advantages of CBCT for Teeth Scanning

There are multiple advantages of CBCT for teeth scanning:

Precise Imaging

CBCT is known for the precise and detailed images of the structures, and it makes it easier to diagnose conditions such as impacted teeth, tumors, cysts, cavities, etc.

Treatment Planning

Dental imaging is crucial to plan your treatment, whether it’s as simple as a dental implant or complicated oral surgery.

Reduced Radiation Exposure

CBCT employs lower radiation doses, reducing the potential risks of excessive radiation exposure.

Quick and Convenient

We have already established that CBCT scans are quicker. So, if you are running on a tight schedule and want a dental image taken at the earliest, CBCT scans are the way to go.

Peace of Mind Dental Studio, AZ

CBCT scans are the preferred choice today when it comes to dental imaging. The reasons are the various advantages such as lesser radiation exposure, quick convenience, better image resolution, etc.

At Peace of Mind Dental Studio, we prioritize you, your health, and your convenience. We provide the best treatment that you deserve. If you are looking for the best dentist for your dental problems, book an appointment with us today!


Que: Is CBCT safe for dental imaging?

Ans: CBCT is not only considered safe but  also preferred nowadays over traditional CT scans.

Que: Are traditional CT scans still used in dentistry?

Ans: Yes, traditional CT scans are still used in dentistry when specific and extensive imaging is required. However, they are used in specific cases.

Que: How long does a CBCT scan take?

Ans: A general, uncomplicated case requires only a few seconds to a few minutes.

Que: Is CBCT suitable for all dental procedures?

Ans: CBCT is highly versatile and can be used for many dental procedures, but its necessity depends on the specific clinical situation.

Written by Dr. Silverman

Dr. Silverman is the co-founder of Peace of Mind Dental, a Chandler Arizona, general dentistry practice.