What a Cone Beam Image Reveals

Cone beam CT scanners reveal far more information than traditional scanners and provide detailed images of a patient’s underlying bone structure. Cone beams are primarily used for cases in which traditional X-rays would not provide sufficient information needed for treatments, specifically surgeries and underlying disease. They can evaluate diseases of:

plastic, surgery, jaw, beauty, cutting, organ




Body structures of the face

Nasal cavity


Cone beam computed tomography scanner


3D Cone Beam and 3D Dental Scans

Advancements in dental technology have brought about many new tools that make it easier for dentists and more comfortable for patients. Dental cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), a new type of X-ray equipment, allows dentists to see a clear, detailed, three-dimensional image of the mouth without causing pain to the patient. This 3D imaging system takes full photos of the teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways, and bones in a single scan.
A 3D cone beam machine resembles conventional CT scan machines and comes in two different structures: an upright chair for sitting or a moveable table for lying down. Depending on the procedure and type of machine being used, the patient will be seated in an exam chair or lie down on an exam table. The chair has an extendable arm (C-arm) while the table has a rotator (gantry) that both rotate 360 degrees around the patient’s head, taking multiple images at once.
Cone beam dental scans are available at 75th Ave Dental Studio in Glendale and the surrounding area. Our staff can help you learn more about the procedure you are undergoing and answer any questions you have about 3D imaging.


Differences Between Traditional and Cone Beam

Traditional CT scanners and cone beam CT scanners both undertake the same basic function, but technical differences set them apart.


Traditional CT Scans

A traditional CT scan takes several pictures of internal body structures from multiple X-ray images generated by a computer. Atlantis, a radiology equipment company, explains, "The x-rays utilize radiation from a radioactive contrast injected into the body to create cross-sectional images." Traditional CT scans can offer a variety of benefits, primarily for surgeries and diagnostics.


Cone Beam CT Scans

Cone beam scanners use a cone-shaped beam radiating from an X-ray source, covering a wide range with just a single rotation around the patient’s head. The X-rays are compiled using a series of algorithms to furnish high-resolution 3D images. Cone beams use a fan beam, as opposed to a light beam, and emit 200-300 times less radiation.

Dentist examining dental scan of a patient on the computer screen


FAQ's About 3D Cone Beam

  • Are cone beam scans covered by insurance?

    Cone beam scans are increasingly being covered by insurance companies as there is a rise in the use of these scans with daily patients. However, not all insurance providers cover these types of scans. We recommend contacting your insurance provider to understand the details of your plan or request coverage for a cone beam scan.

  • What kind of image does a cone beam scanner produce?

    Cone beam scanners not only take images of the mouth but also the entire head. The positioning of your teeth affects the entire head, allowing dentists to see the underlying bone structure and jawline and creating more accurate treatments. They are especially useful for procedures around delicate areas and for planning correctional procedures.

  • How long have cone beams been used?

    Cone beam scanners are fairly new and not all dental clinics use them. Although they were invented in 1967, they were first introduced in the European market in 1996 and in the U.S. market in 2001. Today, about 72% of dentists use CBCT scanners.

  • How safe are CBCT scans?

    CBCT scans emit 200-300 times less or 1/10 the amount of radiation as traditional imaging systems and X-rays. Cone beam CT scanners also allow dentists to emit a certain dosage, making them safer and much more flexible. However, they still emit a certain amount of radiation and can be considered not safe, especially for children, pregnant women, and the elderly. Regardless, all X-ray scans in dentistry require some amount of radiation, and CBCT scans emit the lowest.

  • Is there anything I should prepare for or bring for a CBCT exam?

    There is no preparation required before a CBCT scan. It is important to remove all loose or metallic objects before the exam, as with any other X-ray exam. Patients with metal implants can get a CBCT scan. The dentist will ask you to stay still and do not swallow or talk during the exam.