Hand throwing up clear aligners and a syringe

New Technologies in 3D X-Rays & Dental Imaging

3D Dental X-Ray and New Technology is Changing the Game

Technological gadgets and apps have changed the way we live, and they have certainly changed the ways we monitor our health. From recording our daily calorie intake and our step count, to new high-tech scans and sensors for diagnosis, there is more information available than ever to inform health care. Dentistry is no exception. New 3D dental x-ray and technology are changing the way dental professionals diagnose and treat dental problems.

When it comes to a typical dental examination, the most common tool for monitoring dental health is the x-ray. While this is a process familiar to all dental patients, the process is cumbersome and in some cases anxiety-inducing. The heavy lead cape, the dreaded bitewings, and the time sitting still while the film processes or data collects, often only to repeat the slow process, combine to provide one of the most unpleasant moments for those who dread the dental chair. But as the best available tool in diagnosing dental and gum disease, x-ray is an indispensable screening for dental patients. The good news is that technology is also transforming the methods and the scope of the dental x-ray.

3D Dental Imaging

A new type of digital x-ray scanning, known as ConeBeam imaging, provides more information than the traditional or digital x-ray, with other additional benefits to the patient and the dentist.


One main benefit for patient comfort and time savings is the fact that with the 3D x-ray machine, there is no preparation necessary. The patient simply sits in the chair while the scanner moves around him or her in a sweeping circular movement. There is also no additional wait for multiple images or exposures.


A 3D x-ray provides an array of information that is not available on a traditional 2D x-ray. Images can be taken from multiple angles and at multiple magnifications. This technology is similar to a panoramic CT scan of the entire head, but with much less radiation, due to the concentrated cone-shaped beam which focuses on a small target area. In addition to images of the teeth and gums, the scan provides information about bones, nerves, and other tissues as they relate to the overall health and function of your mouth. The captured images can easily be duplicated and shared, increasing availability of information to other medical professionals who may need to treat issues not associated with the teeth and gums.

3D dental imaging is just one of many exciting new dental technologies being put into practice in order to improve the patient experience in the dental health industry. It is estimated by the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine that 30 to 40 million Americans avoid the dentist due to fear of treatment. Current and future dental technologies, such as 3D x-rays, are helping to alleviate patient fears and improve our nation’s dental health.

Published: May 5, 2017