Dental x-rays provide dentists the opportunity to identify any potential problems in the mouth. The x-ray illustrates images inside of the mouth that enhance the dentist ability to diagnose dental conditions for the patient. In recent years, digital x-rays are increasingly being used in dental offices. Digital x-rays are newer technologies that have a variety of advantages in comparison to traditional dental x-rays. Digital x-rays are a type of x-ray where digital sensors are used instead of traditional film. Digital x-rays work by the dentist placing electronic sensors in the patient’s mouth. The sensors are connected to a computer by a small wire. The x-ray beam is sent through the teeth and into the sensor. The image appears on the computer screen. Images are either saved on the computer or printed out.
There are numerous advantages to using digital x-rays for the dentist and patient.
Advantages for the Dentist
- Dentists no longer have to deal with film. Digital x-rays are a filmless image captured on x-ray. This is a time savings for the dentist since there will not be any film processing that needs to occur.
- There is no darkroom. Since there will not be any film processing, there is no need to have a dark room.
- There are no chemicals. This saves the dentist more time by not having to deal with chemical processing.
- Images are saved on the computer. Images electronically saved eliminate the need for identifying storage space for x-rays. Sometimes, stored paper x-rays may get lost or misfiled.
- Images are able to be viewed immediately. The dentist is not waiting for the development of film, which is often an inconvenience for the dentist.
- Images can be electronically sent to specialist offices.
- Images can be manipulated. Digital images can be enlarged and manipulated on the computer screen. This provides the dentist more detail on the inside of a patient’s mouth.
Advantages for the Patient
- Patient education. Patients are able to understand better what’s going on in their mouth when reviewing the digital x-ray on the computer. The dentist can show the patient his teeth on the computer and enlarge it. Digital x-rays appear to be more user friendly for the patient in comparison to the regular dental x-rays.
- Less radiation exposure. Per some makers of equipment, there is as much as a 70-80% reduction in radiology exposure.