Ask the Petersons: What is a DICOM?


What is a DICOM file?

A DICOM is the raw file that is exported out of your CBCT or CT imaging equipment. This is the standard open file format exchanged by clinicians and surgical guide designing labs. The abbreviation stands for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine.

How do I send a DICOM file?

Three Ways to Send:

  1. Email zip file
  2. Send an encrypted cloud storage link
  3. Log-In to lab-client portal and upload

What is the difference between Viewer file and a DICOM file?

Viewer files are similar to PDF’s: we can look at them, but we are unable to edit them. A DICOM is similar to a Word document: we are able to edit and design the case.

How does the lab 3D print my DICOM?

We don’t. We design a guide utilizing the data from the DICOM file. Once designed, the file is exported in a host of different file formats depending on the 3D printer the lab uses.

Is fabricating a surgical guide as easy as hitting the export button after my surgical planning?

We wish it were that easy! After implant placement, the physical guide must be designed. Thickness, support, path of insertion, viewing windows, provisionals and patient name are a few of the additional specifications most don’t realize still have to be added.

We would love to hear from you. Let us know if you have a question for us by writing to [email protected].

Mike and Chris Peterson are Certified Dental Technicians who have been serving the South Florida dental community for decades. This father-son team is passionate about creating beautiful smiles!


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