What is CAT and CONE BEAM CT?

The term CAT stands for “computerized axial tomography”, hence “Cone Beam computerized axial tomography”; radiological devices that use this technology release conical x-rays, unlike traditional CATs which emit them in a fan. This new equipment generates high quality images with lower radiation doses compared to those normally administered with conventional CATs (up to 30 times less), obtaining three-dimensional images.

What is it used for?

Volumetric CAT and 3D CBCT are “machines” which in dentistry and maxillofacial surgery are used for 3D diagnoses of the cranial complex.

What difference is there compared to a traditional panoramic dental x-ray?

Analogue and digital orthopantomography, also known as a “panoramic x-ray”, is a 2D examination that provides information on the health of hard tissues in the oral cavity. 3D CONE BEAM technology provides three-dimensional information with similar doses to 2D procedures. This innovative examination provides a virtual reconstruction of the cranium (through the use of 3D rendering software), providing much more information and enabling the Clinician to talk things through with the patient, with clear and intuitive images. 3D CONE BEAM is extremely useful in dental extraction, including wisdom teeth, or implantology operations; these are just some examples, however it has numerous other uses.

What are the advantages?

This new technology offers multiple advantages, including:

  • a traditional CAT of both dental arches emits a high dose of ionising radiation, whereas 3D Cone Beam emits a much lower amount, up to 30 times less

  • a single scan is all it takes to obtain “classic” radiographic information, just like in a traditional panoramic x-ray, but it also enables the study of the paranasal sinuses and temporomandibular joint

  • The most updated software enables the 3D reconstruction of the cranial section, helping the Clinician to obtain very important information on the patient’s anatomy

  • 3D rendering software enables the Professional to clearly communicate with the patient, using the computer to simulate the positioning of implants and future prostheses to be fitted directly on the “virtual jaw”

  • ithe patient stands (or sits) in front of a machine that is smaller compared to a conventional CAT, eliminating sensations of claustrophobia.

Who invented it?

It is an all-Italian invention of the research group led by Attilio Tacconi, Daniele Godi, Piero Mozzo and Giordano Ronca (awarded on 25th October 2013, during the Genoa Science Festival, for inventing the cone-beam CT, a discovery which revolutionised the world dental radiology scene). The first model was presented in 1996 by QR srl with the name “NewTom 9000”.

How does it work?

The cone beam passes through the patient and stops on a image intensifying panel (CCD). Numerous images are collected during this step, which are then elaborated by a computer which adds volume (volumetric CT), the essential element is the voxel (a “3D pixel”).

When is it necessary?

The examination is applied in numerous dental and maxillofacial fields, here are just some examples:

  • extraction of dental elements in adults (“wisdom teeth” and canines included) and children
  • enables the assessment of available bone quantity and quality, and the prediction of possible causes of implantology failure
  • enables the identification and tracing of the progress of major nerve structures (e.g. the inferior alveolar nerve)
  • enables the execution of “computer guided” implantology procedures
  • enables better clinical programming in orthodontics
  • in the oncological field, enables the definition of the extent of expansive processes and any anatomical damage

Why choose it?

In the maxillofacial and dentistry field, CT 3D Cone Beam technology has proven to be of excellent quality in virtue of the great definition of generated images, due to good contrasts between anatomical areas of different structural densities, less exposure to x-rays; it also requires less time and the patient is in a more comfortable position.

Our surgery

The surgery Dental@Med uses latest generation CBCT 3D CONE BEAM technology. We use a “Newtom Giano 3D” (Safe Dose) with a F.O.V. 11×8 cm and Telecranium for latero-lateral x-rays too. NNT software enables us to carry out reconstructions with 3D rendering of both dental arches, paranasal sinuses and temporomandibular joint and to simulate implant surgery directly on 3D imaging.


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