The global dental imaging market has seen a paradigm shift from analog film to digital technologies. Periodontal diseases, dentofacial anomalies and dental caries are among the major global oral health problems. The 21st century has brought revolutionary changes in the quality of the life, including the oral healthcare. As the future of the dentistry depends largely on the ability to incorporate new, better diagnostic and treatment modalities into clinical practice demand for novel dental imaging techniques are growing at a rapid pace. 3D intraoral scanner, 3 D printing and CAD - CAM technology have proven to be an alternative to the conventional imaging methods such as film or analog based imaging modalities. In the United Kingdom approximately 21 million radiographs are taken in primary dental care centers each year. With the advent of dental implants demand for cross sectional imaging has become a necessity in dental clinics and dental hospitals pertaining to accurate measurement for implant placement and circumventing damages to fragile anatomical structures.
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Although the first line of dental disease diagnosis relies mostly on the X-ray imaging yet modalities such as Magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI) and computer tomography (CT) are also growing at a rapid pace owing to its accuracy, clarity and ease of handling. Devices such as intraoral periapical and occlusal radiography are mostly used during initial phase of patient evaluation to detect the presence of pathosis and approximate location of anatomic structures such as maxillary sinus. Direct digital intraoral imaging is emerging as an alternative to film based radiography pertaining to its advantages such as rapid acquisition of images, storage, and transmission to remote sites. Furthermore lateral and oblique cephalometric radiography have proven to be a preferable option among dentists for obtaining images of maxilla and mandibular sites in the mid sagittal plane
Three dimensional imaging techniques such as CT scan, tuned aperture CT (TACT), Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) and MRI provide additional benefits over conventional imaging techniques. These benefits encompasses low exposure to radiation, increased patient convenience, reduced operational cost and provides better control over implant diagnosis and treatment planning. 3D computed tomography is an advanced imaging technique wherein the images are digitally acquired and can be subsequently reformatted into any plane, such as axial, sagittal or coronal. Owing to such features demand for such novel devices is continuously growing across the globe especially in the developed economic regions such as the United States and Europe. Moreover tuned aperture CT (TACT) is mostly employed for dentoalveolar imaging. Benefits of TACT include ability to calculate projection geometry, use of low radiation dose and less damage to quality of image due to patient movement. Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) technology yields images with isotropic submillimeter spatial resolution as a result; its use is perfectly suited for dental and maxillofacial cases. CBCT not only reduces the size and cost of CT scanners but also improves the resolution of the image with lesser amount of radiation dose than that used in CT scans. Key end users to the aforementioned instruments include dental clinics, dental laboratories, academic institutes, and forensic laboratories.
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North America dominates the dental imaging market with the U.S. accounting for a major market share. The U.S. market is currently undergoing a rapid penetration of digital sensor technology which is cannibalizing market for intraoral X-ray analog film. Exclusive distribution agreement between digital sensor manufacturers and major distributors are also boosting the market for digital dental imaging instruments market in the United States. In contrast to the United States market, the European dental practices have much stricter regulations concerning X-ray radiation exposure to patients owing to which countries like the France, Britain and Germany already has an established installed base of digital scanners and imaging devices as compared to the United States. Asia Pacific and Rest of the World market is expected to have the fastest growth rate pertaining to rising awareness about oral health care, increasing disposable income and growing focus of prominent players on emerging market.
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