Dental cone beam CT: A review

Phys Med. 2015 Dec;31(8):844-860. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmp.2015.09.004. Epub 2015 Oct 23.


For the maxillofacial region, there are various indications that cannot be interpreted from 2D images and will benefit from multiplanar viewing. Dental cone beam CT (CBCT) utilises a cone- or pyramid-shaped X-ray beam using mostly flat-panel detectors for 3D image reconstruction with high spatial resolution. The vast increase in availability and amount of these CBCT devices offers many clinical benefits, and their ongoing development has potential to bring various new clinical applications for medical imaging. Additionally, there is also a need for high quality research and education. European guidelines promote the use of a medical physics expert for advice on radiation protection, patient dose optimisation, and equipment testing. In this review article, we perform a comparison of technical equipment based on manufacturer data, including scanner specific X-ray spectra, and describe issues concerning CBCT image reconstruction and image quality, and also address radiation dose issues, dosimetry, and optimisation. We also discuss clinical needs and what type of education users should have in order to operate CBCT systems safely. We will also take a look into the future and discuss the issues that still need to be solved.

Keywords: CBCT; Characteristics; Dental; Development; Dosimetry; Guidelines; Image quality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography / instrumentation
  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography / methods*
  • Dentistry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Radiometry