Advanced Imaging and Safety
The ability to "see" beyond the exterior into the inside of the teeth and bone allows for more accurate and earlier diagnosis of dental disease. The advent of conventional film xrays changed dentistry forever, and the technology was continually improved to allow for less radiation exposure and greater clarity. The improvements in film, however, were dwarfed by the invention of digital xrays.
One of the biggest advantages of digital xrays from a diagnostic standpoint is the ability to manipulate the image on the computer, instantly. The contrast, brightness, sharpness can all be adjusted. Multiple complex measurements can be taken in an instant.
Most importantly, the image size can be adjusted without losing clarity. Instead of looking at two or three teeth on a one inch xray film, the image can be enlarged so that one tooth (or even just part of a tooth) can fill an entire computer screen. This not only helps the doctor in diagnosis, it also helps patients understand their problem and the different treatment options available to them.
It only takes a few seconds for the computer to process the digital xray, which allows for immediate evaluation instead of waiting five or ten minutes for the film to develop.
Taking a dental xray has always required controlled exposure to low amounts of radiation. With the introduction of high speed film, conventional film xray systems were able to lower the amount of radiation to the patient. Digital xrays have dropped the exposure even further, so much so that when used in combination with a protective apron you may get greater radiation exposure just spending time outdoors in sunny weather.
Digital xrays also produce less waste in two important ways. Digital images are processed by a computer, so they do not require processing chemicals. They also have an exposure sheild permanently built into the back of the xray sensor, instead of every single film containing an individually wrapped sheild that needs to be thrown away for every exposure.
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