Five Things to Consider When Purchasing a CBCT System

The decision to add a CBCT system to your practice is a big one, largely because of the capital required. It isn’t like integrating a new laptop or tablet into your workflow. This kind of investment calls for careful consideration—particularly in five areas.

1. Image resolution. The most important aspect of all: high image quality. Increasing your diagnostic capabilities is the number one reason to integrate CBCT technology into your practice in the first place. You need to be able to see your area of interest with unprecedented detail. But you also need to be able to adjust image quality with dose—so options for field of view are important.

2.Versatility. What if you invest in CBCT imaging today and—six months down the road—you decide you want the ability to do cephalometric scanning? It would be nice to have a system that could expand with your capabilities, instead of having to purchase a whole new system. You should be able to take advantage of updates to your system when they become available, like for airway analysis, integration with CAD/CAM or low dose imaging.

3. Ease of use. Image acquisition needs to be easy for you and comfortable for your patients. If you choose a system with an open design—one that allows patients to either sit or stand during the scanning process—you will be able to comfortably accommodate people of all sizes and physical abilities. When patients are comfortable during the scan, they’re less likely to move and cause motion artifacts, which can create the need to rescan and add chair time. Needless to say, ease of use should also extend to the 3D software.

4. Integration. Your CBCT should, naturally, integrate with your practice management software, but it should also easily work with third-party programs and leading technology. An open file format (DICOM) means you won’t have issues with one technology “talking” to another. It also means that you can easily correspond and collaborate with referring doctors. They can evaluate your files and you can review theirs.

5. Training and support. You want to feel confident that once you’ve chosen the right imaging system you’ll have access to as much education as you want to maintain proficiency at using it. This means not only initial training but on-going access to hone your skills as you begin to use more and more of the capabilities of the solution. You also want to know you’ll have the support you can rely on when you have a question or need an issue resolved.

What factors do you think are most important when incorporating a new CBCT system into your practice? 

Edward Shellard, D.M.D. Contributor