Why dental practices are switching to 3D imaging in the cloud

2017 09 28 22 26 1469 Man Dentist Woman Patient 400

3D dental imaging, also known as cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scanning, allows dental professionals to create detailed digital models of the entire mouth. In contrast to conventional 2D x-ray technology -- which records a single, flat image -- CBCT scanners use a mechanical arm that rotates around the patient's head to capture multiple x-rays.

As the term "cone beam" suggests, 3D imaging equipment emits a precise, cone-shaped beam at different angles to gain as many perspectives as possible. Then the integrated software patches these images together, rendering a composite representation of the patient's entire oral cavity.

Using 3D dental imaging, dental professionals can capture and view highly accurate x-ray models of their patients' mouths -- including details that you might otherwise miss with the naked eye. This scanning technology is more efficient and enables safer, more precise diagnoses, improving patient outcomes and boosting practice productivity.

Using outdated systems?

Dental x-rays are an essential fixture of any practice, no matter the specialty. In the past, 2D imaging systems served a vital role in diagnosing patients and improving oral health outcomes.

Today, 3D imaging technology is quickly becoming the industry standard known for its high performance and multispecialty uses. From the ability to capture both 2D and 3D scans to the depth and granular detail of oral scans, 3D imaging systems are unrivaled in their versatility and diagnostic capabilities. Yet, even with these advanced systems, some practices still struggle to keep up with patient needs.

If your dental imaging system is unable to capture 3D scans or is limited to on-premises image storage, sharing, and viewing, you could be missing out on the productivity and support you need to effectively expand your practice. Not only that, but you could also be losing patients to practices that have already invested in cloud-based 3D imaging.

Instead of relying on and maintaining legacy systems that require hardware and the costs of maintenance and upgrades that quickly become obsolete, dental practices need to break free from the restrictions of on-premises software. With cloud-based 3D imaging, your practice gets the flexibility and efficiency it needs to streamline back-office processes, enhance patient outcomes, and scale operations.

It's time to examine your dental practice issues

If your dental imaging software limits you and your staff to in-office work, it's time to reevaluate your practice needs. A whopping 94% of enterprises already use cloud services.

As more of this year's technological advances and diagnostic imaging tools capture greater detail, the space required to store this digital information increases exponentially. For dental practices hosting on-premises servers, this translates to increased costs in maintaining and expanding their data centers. However, there are more than just financial reasons to switch to cloud-based 3D dental imaging:

  • On-premises software limits access to images and patient records for out-of-office collaborators. This makes it difficult and potentially risky to share vital information with other professionals or practice locations.
  • Large 2D and 3D x-ray image files take up too much storage space, requiring consistent server upgrades. As scanner resolution increases, file sizes will only get bigger, requiring a storage solution outside of your office.
  • In-office infrastructure lacks scalability due to hardware and software constraints. A cloud-based solution enables practice expansion through versatile features and continuous updates.

Migrating to the cloud

Cloud technology is helping countless dental practices expand their organizations by driving productivity and efficiency in both front- and back-office operations. With patient expectations increasing the demand for dental office workflows, it's not a matter of if but when all dental practices will migrate to cloud-based systems. This is especially true for multioffice dental organizations and those looking to expand their practices or service offerings.

Plus, using the cloud offers a trustworthy and safe option, and 94% of businesses that move their data to the cloud report large improvements in online security after making the switch.

By migrating their systems and data to the cloud, dental practices receive the following benefits:

  • Centralized information on a single platform
  • Seamless, 24/7 access to information on or off premises
  • Collaboration tools for referrals and multioffice organizations
  • Increased data storage capacity, eliminating the need for back-room servers
  • Constant backups and cloud storage protection from natural disasters or other catastrophic events
  • Data security and HIPAA-compliant sharing features to protect sensitive patient information

Benefits of cloud-based 3D imaging

Cloud-based 3D imaging software has multiple benefits, not just for doctors and dental staff but for patients as well. These tools are designed to integrate into your workflow with minimal alterations, providing a superior method for capturing and analyzing images. This enables dental professionals to track and diagnose oral health problems with improved accuracy and create treatment plans that are far more effective.

In addition to enhanced patient outcomes, the instant 3D rendering and model viewer can help dentists better communicate diagnoses and share preventative care tips and treatment options with patients. Whether your practice is still using conventional x-rays or on-premises CBCT software, making the switch to cloud-based 3D imaging will bring countless advantages for both patients and practitioners.

Patient benefits

For your patients, a cloud-based imaging solution offers the following benefits:

  • Nonintrusive procedure: With a CBCT scan, there's no need for the patient to experience discomfort to gain an image. In a few seconds, the machine simply scans the area and captures the image.
  • Faster than traditional x-rays: Modern 3D imaging systems take about 10 seconds to complete a full scan. This saves time and reduces the chances of image defects, resulting in faster, painless appointments.
  • Minimal exposure: Cut down on radiation exposure for patients, making them feel safe and secure and enhancing their overall experience.
  • Accurate diagnoses: 3D scanning technology allows dental professionals to visualize greater detail and depth, enabling more accurate diagnoses.
  • Efficient lab renderings: Reduce the time required to create crowns, bridges, and other dental work.

Dentist benefits

For dentists, cloud-based 3D imaging offers the following advantages:

  • User-friendly interface: 3D dental imaging software is highly intuitive, designed for dental professionals to pick up with ease. The interactive display also allows them to view, magnify, manipulate, and annotate 3D images to customize their look and feel.
  • Efficient workflows: With a fully integrated, digital workflow and optimization tools, you can maximize treatment outcomes and ensure precision in every exam. And the fast-scanning capabilities of CBCT machines free up more time to focus on high-value tasks.
  • Collaboration and referrals: Cloud-based scanning software and the 3D image viewer allow dental professionals to share images and collaborate with referrals and other locations using the 3D image viewer. You also get access to information from anywhere and at any time for emergencies or consultations after normal office hours.
  • Increased patient acceptance: From easy-to-use online portals to impressive dental equipment, patients today demand more from dental providers. Impress your patients with the advanced capabilities of cloud-based dental imaging the moment they step in the door.

Use cases for 3D imaging

Cloud-based 3D dental imaging systems serve a variety of clinical applications, from detecting and visualizing issues before they occur to diagnosing cavities, root canal issues, and other dental trauma. No matter your specialty, a 3D dental imaging system can provide your practice with the modern equipment and state-of-the-art software it needs to boost productivity and efficiency while improving patient outcomes.

General dentists

For general dentists, one of the primary benefits of a cloud-based 3D imaging system is that it provides a complete view of the patient's mouth, allowing you to catch emerging dental issues before they become problematic.

While performing preventative care services is of utmost importance, general dentists may be required to fill many roles, from restoration to cosmetics. With 3D dental imaging and the proper training, you can expand the treatment and services you offer.


Endodontists commonly use CBCT scans to diagnose root canals. The 3D imaging functionality provides exceptional detail and information, empowering them to determine which tooth is affected. This scanning capability enables you to develop precise treatment plans to conserve as much of the tooth as possible.


While specializing in preventing, diagnosing, and treating gum disease, more and more periodontists have become experts in placing implants. Three-dimensional dental imaging greatly aids in determining bone quality and quantity when determining if an implant is feasible so doctors can go from diagnosing to planning to placement faster and with greater confidence. Additionally, with a cloud-based 3D imaging system, periodontists can utilize a fully digital workflow for prosthetic-driven implant planning.


As patient expectations rise and multisite practices grow, dental professionals can have a difficult time deciding which 3D imaging solution is right for them. From integration capabilities to data management and security, there are a lot of considerations that go into choosing the right 3D imaging system. Seamless integrations allow you to connect with the rest of your digital ecosystem while cloud capabilities mean you get secure access to all of your images and patient information from anywhere and at any time. In addition, regular updates scale with your practice, ensuring that you'll always be on the cutting edge.

As the dental profession continues to adopt cloud-based 3D imaging systems, like Sensei Imaging, the oral healthcare industry is poised for a rapid digital transformation. To stay ahead of the curve, dental practices will have to carefully consider and implement new technologies that boost productivity, serve multiple specialties, and improve patient outcomes.

If you're looking for a cloud-based 3D imaging solution, be sure to consider the following questions:

  • Does it provide secure anytime, anywhere access to dental images and patient records?
  • Will it support the storage and transfer of large image files from 2D and 3D scans?
  • Can you easily share files to collaborate with other offices or referrals?
  • Does it scale as your practice expands to multiple specialties and locations?
  • Is the data storage secure and HIPAA compliant?

By leveraging a versatile, cloud-based 3D imaging system that accomplishes all of these goals, your practice gains a competitive advantage in the industry. Not only are you better equipped to diagnose and treat patients, but you also stay ahead of expectations while maximizing treatment outcomes.

Don't get left behind; start boosting your practice productivity today with cloud-based 3D imaging. Enjoy diagnostic, browser-based imaging tools so you can see more and do more for patients with Sensei Imaging!

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