Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) is an emerging X-ray technology for dentists. Also known is Digital Volumetric Tomography (DVT) it presents a radical change in imaging. For over one hundred years, dental X-ray imaging has been based on two dimensional images. In contrast, medical imaging has become increasingly dominated by developments in three dimensional image production, notably computed tomography (CT).
The ability of CBCT to provide images in three dimensions with a high level of detail makes it a very attractive method for many dental applications. It is, however, associated with greater radiation dose and risk than is the case with traditional dental radiographic methods. Unlike most 'medical' radiology, the bulk of dental x-ray imaging is performed in primary care by dentists with no postgraduate qualification or special expertise in radiology. Approximately one third of medical x-ray exposures in European countries are performed by dentists. In most EU states, dentists can purchase and use CBCT without any additional training. Numerous manufacturers are now producing CBCT equipment, yet the evidence-base for appropriate use is not yet strong.
There is evidence in the literature of inappropriate and excessive use of conventional X-ray techniques in dentistry. Similarly, there is evidence of poor image quality because of insufficient attention to quality assurance methods and inadequate training of users. European Guidelines on Radiation Protection for Dental Radiology http://ec.europa.eu/energy/nuclear/radioprotection/publication/doc/136_en.pdf were produced in 2004 covering all relevant aspects of justification, optimization and referral criteria for conventional dental x-ray imaging techniques, but these guidelines did not cover CBCT in any way.
The SEDENTEXCT project is focused on enhanced safety and efficacy in the medical uses of radiation. We will develop methodologies to better assess and reduce doses to patients and staff. We will give essential information for developing referral criteria through quantification of benefits over conventional imaging methods. We are developing practical quality assurance mechanisms, including a marketable quality assurance phantom, and criteria that can be taken up by users and standard-setting bodies. Finally, this website will develop during the years of the project to provide a robust mechanism for valorisation of the project results so that they have a real impact with users of CBCT. By “users”, we mean all those parties who might have contact with, or an interest in, CBCT technology:
- Dental and Maxillofacial Radiologists
- Medical Physicists
- Manufacturers and supply companies
- The interested public
Whichever category you are in, please bookmark this page and return to watch how the website develops and grows in the years ahead.