What is the difference between a CT and CBCT Scanner?

The progression in technology within the medical field has been astounding in the past few years. With the different types of innovative technologies today, many devices can seem jumbled and mixed together. So today in this article, we will be talking about the difference between a CT and a CBCT Scanner. 

What is a Computed Tomography Scanner?

What is the difference between a CT and CBCT Scanner CT

When thinking about the traditional CT scanner, people generally imagine a huge machine. They also take up a majority of the space in the room. All for a simple body scan, this machine takes things to the next level in terms of x-rays. The apparatus generates images of your internal structures through the x-ray. By utilizing an x-ray scan, the computer processes the many images and separates them. It is projected into cross-sectional images, things like your bones and blood vessels are displayed. Essentially, these are required before performing a proper diagnosis, surgery, etc. 

What is a CBCT Scanner?

What is the difference between a CT and CBCT Scanner CBCT

Similar to a CT scanner, a CBCT Scanner uses a cone beam-like scanner that radiates from a source of x-ray. Like the name indicates, the radiation is projected in a cone-like appearance with one rotation around the patient. The images are then generated through the scan. This creates a 3D projection of the scanned body in high resolution. 

CBCT Scanner versus CT Scanner

What is the difference between a CT and CBCT Scanner CT Comparisons

The transmitted radiation used in a CT scanner is projected in a helix-like shape. The images are inserted into the image detector that is set up around the patients. This process can only utilize single sliced images for each scan. However, it is a rapid process that can cover a substantial amount of the body. These CT scans may also generate these images into a 3D depiction. 

Another difference between the two units is that the traditional CT scanner uses a high-output anode x-ray tube. In comparison, the CBCT scanner uses a medical fluoroscopy tube that utilizes a low-power output system. We recommend the CBCT as the output system is lower.

One of the most important details that separate the one scanner from the other is the amount of radiation. Since the CBCT scanner has such efficient movement, it can scan a patient a lot quicker. When compared to the traditional CT scanner, the CBCT is a lot safer. When scanning the mandible of a patient with a CT, it exposes them to 200-300 times the amount of radiation. The reduced exposure is more beneficial for your patients’ health and well-being.

The positioning of both units is also different. When scanning with the traditional CT scanners the patient has to lie down. With most other CBCT scanners, they don’t require the patient to lie down. When using the scanner, the machine utilizes canning using panoramic radiography. a traditional CT scan as to be parallel to the X-ray beam and any slight movement of the patient can result in an error. However, in a CBCT scanner, the orientation of the unit doesn’t require the patient to hold still.


With the increase in the recent use of CBCT scanners from dental professionals, there have been fewer overexposures of radiation. However, many dental offices as well as hospitals that still favor the traditional CT scanner. Hopefully, in the future, there is a shift towards CBCT as it is more beneficial to the community. 

When transitioning from a traditional CT scanner to a CBCT scanner, contact our sales department for more information. Follow us on social media for updated information on current events!

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