Understanding the Difference Between
Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) and 3D Tomo (Tomosynthesis)

CBCT vs. 3D Tomo

A CBCT system takes X-ray images from locations around the patient’s head, creating a three-dimensional object (the head), that shows the entire X-rayed area at once. This picture shows the structure of the skull and dentition which allows for assessing various dental conditions and for planning dental implants and surgeries, among other uses. The PORTRAY™ System, on the other hand, is a wall mounted stationary intraoral X-ray system similar to conventional 2D intraoral X-ray systems and utilizing the same workflow as conventional 2D intraoral systems.  However, the PORTRAY™ System is enhanced to create 3D Tomosynthesis X-rays which are volumetric.  Although the PORTRAY™ System is a stationary intraoral system, it has multiple focal spots which allows the software to create a 3D Tomosynthesis volume of images each of which is a .5mm slice.  Each slice can be viewed individually by scrolling with a computer mouse.  This technology reveals more information about pathologies inside the tooth, such as caries, fractures, and root issues.

3D Tomosynthesis imaging is important for many diagnoses and treatment plans in dental practices. The PORTRAY™ System offers your practice a safe, fast way to produce 3D images, without requiring as much space in your office as a CBCT, as much training for your staff, or exposing your patient to as much radiation.

CBCT 3D Tomosynthesis
Clinical Applications Principally used for implants and oral surgery Diagnoses involving data on tooth fractures, caries, interproximal contacts, root form, root canals, and implant placement
Clinical Applications CBCT usually can image the maxillofacial complex and skull Imaging focusing on dentition and supporting structures
Modes 3D tomography, imaging and/or panoramic imaging 3D tomosynthesis, synthetic 2D, conventional 2D
Interpretation of Images Extensive training required to understand 3D anatomy and pathology, often requiring the skills of a maxillo-facial radiologist Minimal training required for dental professionals. Interpretation of images is similar to that of a conventional 2D Intraoral X-ray
Detector Placement Extraoral Intraoral size 2 (same as conventional 2D digital imaging)
Radiation Dose Much higher than conventional 2D imaging and tomsynthesis Comparable to D-speed film with similar loading factors
Resolution Normally Ranges from 70-600 microns Comparable to intraoral X-rays
Software Use Secondary reconstruction is needed requiring longer time to render images Images are instantly available
Footprint Requires more square footage with a dedicated radiation room Occupies footprint similar to a wall mounted conventional 2D Intraoral X-ray system
Price of Procedure Higher - may require interpretation of image by a specialist with greater costs Lower - no specialist required; approved CDT codes for 3D Tomo
Summary Modality for specialized clinical applications, with higher cost, space needs, training requirements, and radiation dose Expands the abilities of intraoral imaging with less training required, less space, lower cost, and lower radiation dose

Find out more about how the PORTRAY™ System can help you build a better practice.

CBCT 3D Tomosynthesis
Clinical Applications Principally used for implants and oral surgery Diagnoses involving data on tooth fractures, caries, interproximal contacts, root form, root canals, and implant placement
Clinical Applications CBCT usually can image the maxillofacial complex and skull Imaging focusing on dentition and supporting structures
Modes 3D tomography, imaging and/or panoramic imaging 3D tomosynthesis, synthetic 2D, conventional 2D
Interpretation of Images Extensive training required to understand 3D anatomy and pathology, often requiring the skills of a maxillo-facial radiologist Minimal training required for dental professionals. Interpretation of images is similar to that of a conventional 2D Intraoral X-ray
Detector Placement Extraoral Intraoral size 2 (same as conventional 2D digital imaging)
Radiation Dose Much higher than conventional 2D imaging and tomsynthesis Comparable to D-speed film with similar loading factors
Resolution Normally Ranges from 70-600 microns Comparable to intraoral X-rays
Software Use Secondary reconstruction is needed requiring longer time to render images Images are instantly available
Footprint Requires more square footage with a dedicated radiation room Occupies footprint similar to a wall mounted conventional 2D Intraoral X-ray system
Price of Procedure Higher - may require interpretation of image by a specialist with greater costs Lower - no specialist required; approved CDT codes for 3D Tomo
Summary Modality for specialized clinical applications, with higher cost, space needs, training requirements, and radiation dose Expands the abilities of intraoral imaging with less training required, less space, lower cost, and lower radiation dose

Find out more about how the PORTRAY™ System can help you build a better practice.