There has been an escalating interest in three-dimensional imaging devices over the last decade. Orthodontists are beginning to appreciate the advantages that the third dimension gives to clinical diagnosis, treatment planning and patient education. This article focuses on the cutting edge technology of cone beam CT, which utilizes conventional X-ray technology and computerized volumetric reconstruction to reproduce a three-dimensional image. A variety of applications and range of issues associated with this technology will be discussed. © 2005 British Orthodontic Society.