CBCT is quickly becoming the standard of care for dental radiographs. As more dentists experience the radiographic information that CBCT offers, they are realizing that doing certain procedures without CBCT increases the risk of failure. If you are new to CBCT or are considering purchasing a CBCT unit, the following information may be helpful in preparing you for what you should learn at a minimum.
Understanding how to vary slice thickness-- and why and when to utilize this function. I realized that for those that are new to CBCT the concept of slice thickness is foreign and needs further explanation.
Last week during a CBCT training on the Prexion Excelsior Pro, I came across a great example of the benefit of varying slice thickness in CBCT software. CBCT volumes show 3 different 2D perspectives (axial, sagittal, and coronal) of the same location. Because a CBCT volume is a composite of many "slices" in the same plane, CBCT x-ray allows the user to vary the thickness from a single voxel slice to a composite view of multiple slices in the same plane. A digital PA will look similar to a composite view of many slices.
When evaluating CBCT, I recommend downloading BlueSky Bio software because it is free and very feature rich. If guided implant surgery is one of your goals, you can use BlueSky Bio to design surgical guides . The BlueSky software has a great video tutorial library to guide you through basic functionality to the more advanced features, so, it is easy to learn as your needs evolve.
The next step is to request DICOM volumes from various manufacturers - both small and large volumes. Ask for volumes with restorations so you can see how the unit being evaluated performs when restorations are present. All CBCT units will produce artifacts such as scatter and beam hardening in the scan when restorations are present. This is why it is often necessary to use a scan appliance (basically an impression tray with radiopaque markers) and a dual scan technique to allow for the alignment of a scanned model and the patient's CBCT. When those two volumes are combined, a surgical guide can be planned and 3D printed.
Dental TI sells, installs, trains, and supports CBCT systems. Our experience has allowed us a firm understanding of a process that makes a CBCT install a success. I have created a checklist that can help any buyer purchasing CBCT from any company. Hopefully, this will help CBCT purchasers avoid a "nightmare" like some experiences described on various message boards and forums. Before you speak to any salesperson:
CBCT scanners play a big role in dental offices around the world. They have the power to take between 150 to 600 x-rays a minute, providing dentists with the information needed to diagnose and treat patients. Sometimes, though, these machines do not work as they should. When that is the case, you can go through some CBCT troubleshooting tips. These tips will help you get your CBCT machine up and running again.