Digital x-rays have been a huge technological breakthrough for dentistry. At the speed of light, dentistry has moved out of the “dark ages” and into digital world. Like photography has moved past Polaroid pictures and 35mm film to the instant gratification of digital cameras, dentistry has done the same with digital x-rays. Dental radiographs, or X-rays, are an important part of a thorough dental examination. A full set of x-rays is usually required for patients who are new to a dental practice, or who need extensive treatment. X-ray images are the most valuable tool a dentist has for keeping your teeth and mouth healthy.
Why Digital X-rays?
Easy to use and comfortable
While the technology is still relatively new and expensive - a growing number of dentists are installing digital X-ray equipment in their offices. Patients may look specifically for dentists that use the newest and most pain free technology available, so digital x-rays are well worth the investment! Digital X-rays eliminate the need for patients to bite down on sharp squares of film (while fighting the impulse to gag) then wait and wait and wait, while the x-rays are developed. With the digital method, a small sensor can easily be moved around inside a patient's mouth and the images are instantly displayed on a computer screen. If a retake is needed, it can be done immediately, no more going back and forth between the dental chair and the x-ray room. The digital images, which look similar to traditional x-rays, can then be enlarged and manipulated, which helps dentists show and explain what is going to a patient.
Less exposure to radiation
Many patients are concerned about radiation exposure when getting any type of x-ray. Even traditional dental x-rays expose patients to much less radiation than those of the chest or internal organs. They are among the lowest radiation dose exams of any diagnostic radiologic procedure. While digital x-rays are not “radiation free”, they do provide reduced exposure to radiation as compared to traditional x-rays. Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit a patient's exposure to radiation by only taking those x-rays that are necessary and using lead apron shields to protect the body.
Easily compare to past x-rays
Another advantage of digital x-rays is the ability to digitally compare new digital radiographs to previous digital ones. The computer and special software can digitally compare the two images, subtract out everything that is the same and give a clear image of anything that is different. This means that tiny changes that may not be noticeable with the naked eye can be caught earlier and more clearly with digital-subtraction radiography
Since no film developing is required, there is no need to store and dispose of the harmful waste and chemicals used in the traditional developing process. A study by the Eco Dentistry Association found that “By converting to digital X-rays, a typical office can prevent dispos¬al of at least 200 liters of toxic fixer and 17,200 lead foils in just five years.” And, “Digital patient charting saves as much as 10,000 sheets of pa¬per a year in the typical dental practice.”
Our practice is a leader in the use of state of the art digital x-rays and digital cameras to help with an accurate diagnosis of any concerns. Contact us to schedule your appointment today!