It's possible to take different image sizes for different procedures, as different machines have different FOV's, or Fields of View, with some as small as 4x4 cm's and up to 20x20 cm's, for a full head image, according to Dr. Dale Miles, oral maxillofacial radiologist in Fountain Hills, Arizona.
For dentists and dental specialists that do obstructive sleep apnea or facial pain, they'd probably want a larger field of view machine because they're looking at anatomical structures that would be captured in that field of view. Some dentists and endodontists, on the other hand, may look at smaller fields of view.
A multi-functional view allows you to a traditional panoramic with one detector and just by switching a detector or changing a setting, you can actually add cone beam when you need it, says Dr. Miles. For a child with an extra tooth, for example, it might be seen on a panoramic image but it absolutely would be seen with cone beam. "Dentists can visualize the space before going in and surgerizing the area," Dr. Miles says and this "opens up a whole new area for dentists in a lot of different applications."
Dr. Miles says dentists don't have to own a cone beam machine in order to use the data from it. The patient can be sent to someone who has the machine and the dentist can get the data back on a CD. A dentist needs to look at a few things when considering purchasing a cone beam, according to Dr. Miles. He says they need to look at the applications they do, the services they provide their patients on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and lastly, they need to look at the return on their investment.
Dr. Miles believes that for general dentistry, while cone beam imaging may not be the standard of care, it will become the modality of choice.
For more information on Dr. Dale Miles, you can go to his digital imagining and cone beam imaging website at www.learndigital.net. Dr. Dale Miles is a featured commentator with Cone Beam TV.