Combining Intraoral Scans, Cone Beam Computed Tomography and Face Scans: The Virtual Patient

J Craniofac Surg. 2018 Nov;29(8):2241-2246. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000004485.


Purpose: The aim of this literature review was to provide an update on the current scientific knowledge in the field of 3D virtual patient science and to identify a possible easy, smart, and affordable method to combine different file formats obtained from different digital devices.

Methods: Electronic searches of the Medline database was performed, up to May 2017, for articles dealing with the construction of a 3D virtual patient; the matching of data acquired with different digital devices (cone beam computed tomography, CBCT; face scanner, FS; intraoral scanner, IOS; and desktop scanner, DS) was considered. The inclusion of studies was based on the superimposition of at least 2 different digital sources.

Results: Twenty-five studies were selected for subsequent examination. Only 3 studies analyzed the feasibility of superimposition of 3 different types of 3D data (CBCT + FS + IOS/DS). The most frequently used matching procedure was between CBCT and FS and CBCT and IOS/DS.

Conclusion: The procedure of superimposition of data from CBCT, IOS, and FS is currently feasible and it is now possible to create a 3D "virtual patient" to better diagnose, plan the treatment, and communicate with patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography*
  • Dentistry / methods
  • Esthetics, Dental
  • Face / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional* / instrumentation