Advantages of Digital Dental X-Rays
I am often asked by patients about the advantages of digital radiography when used in my dental office. Digital radiography is a form of x-ray imaging where sensors are used instead of traditional photographic film. There are two types of dental radiological examinations—intraoral, with sensors placed inside the mouth, and extraoral, where the sensor is outside the mouth. An extraoral X-ray image is commonly referred to as a Panoramic X-ray and is used to visualize a larger region.
When we moved to our new office, we purchased both a digital intraoral x-ray machine as well as a digital extraoral panoramic machine, commonly referred to as a digital Panorex . After more than 25 years practicing dentistry using conventional X-ray technology, I am excited to share the benefits of digital radiology with my patients.
First and foremost, digital radiography reduces my patient’s exposure to radiation—usually 70 to 80 percent. Many patients are very relieved that digital radiology significantly lowers the amount of radiation they will receive.
In addition, there is no chemical processing of the x-rays, eliminating the inconvenience and environmental impact associated with disposal of conventional film developers.
Thirdly, digital X-rays facilitate communication with patients as well as other practitioners. The digital images are immediately available to view. Using current technology, it is very easy to enhance, enlarge, or refine the X-ray images. Brightness, color and/or contrast of digital X-rays can be adjusted without re-exposing the patient for another film. Patients are now able to view their X-rays instantaneously on the computer monitor screens located in each operatory.
One of the most useful advantages, is that I can send the digital image to other doctors in a few minutes. Often, while a patient is still seated in the dental chair, I can call other referring doctors to discuss their treatment plan. This can understandably save time for both patients and doctors alike.
Finally, digital X-ray images can be stored in each patient’s database on the computer. This process saves time and allows me to easily retrieve this information when necessary.
As you can see, digital radiology offers many advantages when compared with traditional film based X-rays. The decision to ‘go digital’ in our new office has both enhanced and improved patient care.