I was recently having a conversation with a Sirona sales rep and decided to open up the world of cone beam with him. Turns out Sirona is on the cusp of releasing a new cone beam CT machine aimed at the general dentist and orthodontist. The Orthophos XG 3D is a dual function machine. It has a true 2D image sensor along with its expected 3D cone beam system. The rep was nice enough to show me what the scans looked like and I have to say that I’m impressed. Great clarity overall. I did see a bit of noise on there but I really had to look for it. Of course you have to be careful, the pictures he showed me were on Sidexis. Sirona’s own imaging viewer software. From what I hear about Sirona’s machines, they look great on Sirona’s software, and horrible on any other software. Your results my vary.
According to the sales rep the machine uses less radiation than four bitewings. I am not sure I believe that at all. In fact, this goes to show you that you need to be absolutely careful when talking with sales reps about your patient safety. I just cannot imagine a machine producing a high quality 3D image using less radiation than four bitewings. Less than a full mouth series and panoramic… maybe. J Morita makes the that claim. Less than four bitewings? That seems like a tall order. The rep says it is because Sirona uses image intensifiers in their machines. Time will tell and until I see studies behind these claims I will remain skeptical.
I believe it should be a requirement for every machine to have a display that reads out the radiation dose used during the scan. That dose should be recorded in the chart (not just the DICOM) at every visit. Something like this can easily be automated.
As a general dentist, if the radiation is truly less than a full mouth series and panoramic and these companies are not lying, I would consider using a cone beam on every patient instead of an fmx and pano. There are many advantages to this scenario. Reduce patient radiation, patients are much more comfortable, a better and more accurate diagnosis and more clarity in your pictures. This is really any dentists’ dream.