A Comprehensive Guide on How to Use Dental CBCT Scan Viewing Software

Dental Cone Beam CT scans has revolutionised the field of dentistry, enabling dentists and oral surgeons to capture three-dimensional images of the oral and maxillofacial region with remarkable precision. These high-resolution 3D images provide valuable insights for treatment planning, diagnosis, and post-treatment evaluation. To harness the power of CBCT scans effectively, one must master the use of dental CBCT scan viewing software. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the basics of using this software for enhanced patient care.

Understanding Cone Beam CT Scans

Before delving into the software, it’s essential to understand what CBCT scans are and how they differ from traditional X-ray imaging:

CBCT Scan vs. Traditional X-rays

3D Dental Scan vs. 2D: Cone beam CT scans generate three-dimensional images, allowing for a comprehensive view of the oral and maxillofacial structures. Traditional X-rays are limited to two-dimensional images.

Accuracy: CBCT scans offer superior accuracy and precision, making it ideal for complex procedures like dental implant placement, orthodontic treatment planning, and endodontic diagnosis.

Low Radiation Exposure: While Cone Beam CT scans involve some radiation exposure, it’s significantly lower than traditional CT scans.

CBCT Scan Viewing Software: An Overview

Cone Beam CT scan software serves as the bridge between the raw data captured by the CBCT scanner and actionable diagnostic insights. These software packages vary in features and capabilities, but they all share common functionalities:

  1. Importing CBCT Data: The first step is to import the CBCT scan into the software. This is typically done by loading the DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) files generated by the CBCT scanner or by having a viewer locked with one patient’s scan at a time avoiding the need to install anything on your computer.
  2. Image Reconstruction: The software processes the CBCT scan to create three-dimensional reconstructions of the patient’s oral and maxillofacial region. You can manipulate these reconstructions to view the area of interest on the Cone Beam CT scan from different angles and perspectives.
  3. Measurement Tools: All CBCT scan viewing software provide measurement tools that allow you to take precise measurements of anatomical structures. This is crucial for treatment planning and ensuring the accuracy of procedures.
  4. Image Enhancement: Enhancing image quality is essential for accurate diagnosis. CBCT scan software often includes tools for adjusting contrast, brightness, and other image parameters to optimize visualization.
  5. Segmentation: Segmentation tools enable you to isolate specific structures or regions of interest within the 3D Dental Scan. This is particularly useful for identifying and analysing individual teeth, nerves, bone fractures, or tumours. This usually attracts additional fee if this is done as an additional service, e.g. Simplant. But our hands-on courses will generally how to draw the nerve yourself on our viewers. In our hands-on courses, we teach you how to draw the nerve yourself; we also teach you how to remove the marking of a nerve that may be already on the scan but be incorrect!
  6. Annotation and Marking: You can add annotations, labels, and markers directly on the 3D Dental Scan images to highlight key findings or areas of concern. This aids in communication with patients and colleagues. Again, ask us for software support to help you make your treatment plans more detailed, more interesting and stand out more.
  7. Virtual Implant Planning: Advanced software packages offer virtual implant planning tools, allowing you to simulate dental implant placement in 3D. This helps in selecting the optimal implant size and location. We can provide draft plans for you when you tell us what you intend to do, e.g. how many implants to place, pilot, etc.
  8. Exporting and Reporting: After analysing the CBCT scan data, you can generate comprehensive reports and export images or 3D models for documentation and communication purposes.

Now, let’s delve into the practical steps of using dental CBCT viewing software:

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Dental CBCT Viewing Software

Step 1: Importing the Cone Beam CT scan software Data.

  1. Open the CBCT scan viewing software.
  2. Select the option to import DICOM files.
  3. Navigate to the folder containing your CBCT scan data and select the relevant files.
  4. The software will automatically load and reconstruct the 3D Dental scan images.
  5. Alternatively, the viewer for a specific patient will just self-play by clicking on the .exe file.

Step 2: Navigating the 3D Model.

  1. Once the Cone Beam CT Scan images are loaded, you can manipulate the 3D Dental Scan model using the mouse or keyboard shortcuts. This includes rotating, zooming, and panning to explore the region of interest.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the software’s interface and tools for easy navigation.

Step 3: Image Enhancement and Systematic Review for Abnormalities

  1. Adjust image parameters such as contrast, brightness, and window/level settings to improve visualization. This is particularly useful for identifying subtle details on the CBCT scan.
  2. Make sure you carefully go through the whole volume in all three planes to spot any coincidental findings

Step 4: Measurements and Annotations

  1. Use measurement tools to take accurate measurements on the CBCT scan of structures like teeth, bones, or lesions. Follow the software’s guidelines for measuring distances, angles, and volumes.
  2. Add annotations or markers to highlight specific findings or areas of concern. Labelling can help in treatment planning and patient communication.

Step 5: Segmentation

  1. If needed, use segmentation tools to isolate specific structures or regions within the 3D Dental Scan model. This is useful for detailed analysis and treatment planning.

Step 6: Virtual Implant Planning (If applicable)

  1. If you’re planning a dental implant procedure, use the virtual implant planning tools to simulate the placement and alignment of implants.

Step 7: Generating Reports

  1. After completing your analysis, generate comprehensive reports summarizing your findings. Include annotated images and measurements as needed.

Step 8: Exporting Data

  1. Export images, 3D models, and reports in common formats (e.g., PDF, DICOM, STL) for documentation, referral, or collaboration with colleagues.

Tips for Efficient Use

Training: Invest time in training to become proficient with the CBCT scan software.

Regular Updates: Keep your software up to date to access new features and improvements.

Data Backup: Always maintain backup copies of your CBCT data to prevent loss due to software or hardware issues.

Collaboration: Utilise the software’s features for sharing and collaboration, especially if you need input from other dental professionals.

Adhere to Regulations: Ensure that you comply with local regulations regarding Cone Beam CT scan usage and data storage.


CBCT scan viewing software is a powerful tool that enhances the precision and effectiveness of dental diagnosis and treatment planning. By following the steps outlined in this guide and continually honing your skills, you can make the most of this technology to provide optimal care for your patients while minimising radiation exposure and maximising diagnostic accuracy. Remember, proficiency comes with practice, so don’t hesitate to explore and experiment with your chosen Cone Beam CT scan viewing software to become a proficient user.

Want to go deeper? Why not join one of our free CBCT software training CPD sessions:

All our Education events are also designed to help you improve. Our and our CPD events are also especially designed to make you feel more and more comfortable with the 3D space and with the scan interpretation.