The Broad Scope of Digital X-Rays
Digital technology has spread to the dentist’s office. Some dentists have forgone film and use digital X-rays that come with a number of advantages.1
Instead of biting down on a piece of film, the new technology uses a small electronic sensor on your tooth.2 A computer takes the picture and stores the data.3 There is no film or darkroom with digital X-rays, so the feedback is instant.1, 2
Both traditional and digital X-rays can take pictures of your teeth and jaws.3 This can help your dentist diagnose gum disease, impacted teeth, cavities, and tumors.2
Digital X-rays can yield a more accurate diagnosis because dentists can manipulate the photo.4 The dentist can zoom in on an image to get a better view and see details more easily.4 Or the dentist can adjust the brightness and contrast of a photo to make certain structures, such as cavities, easier to see.4 X-rays are taken in a high resolution to allow these techniques.4
There’s also less exposure to radiation.5 Of course, radiation exposure from dental X-rays was always safe.5 But depending on how many X-rays are taken, you may experience half the radiation of a traditional X-ray with digital imaging.4
With digital radiography, the images can be stored on a computer at your dentist's office and copies can be kept off-site as backups.6 Not only are your X-rays better protected and always available for future review, they can be sent electronically to specialists.6
1 “Dental Digital Radiography.” M.L. Kantor. Journal of the American Dental Association. October 2005, vol. 136, no. 10, pp. 1358–60. jada.ada.org Accessed 2010.
2 “Why Do I Need X-rays?” Academy of General Dentistry, October 2008. www.agd.org/support/articles/?ArtID=1373. Accessed 2010.
3 “Dental X-rays.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, February 22, 2010. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003801.htm. Accessed 2010.
4 “Better Imaging: The Advantages of Digital Radiography.” P.F. van der Stelt. Journal of the American Dental Association. June 2008, vol. 139, supplement 3, pp. 7S–13S. jada.ada.org. Accessed 2010.
5 “X-Ray Use and Safety.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/xray.asp. Accessed 2010.
6 “Practice Guidelines for Digital Radiography.” American Academy of Radiologists. Digital Radiography. October 1, 2007. www.acr.org/SecondaryMainMenuCategories/quality_safety/guidelines/dx/digital_radiography.aspx. Accessed 2010.