Digital x-rays are the new standard
Many dental offices are going digital today, and there are so many benefits beyond keeping up with the times! Let’s talk about the differences and why #teamchameleon is investing in digital technology.
Conventional film techniques (“plain film”) required the use of plastic film packets which contain layers of lead foil, paper, and a plastic sheet with crystals of silver bromide (the “film”). After an x-ray exposure, the film was removed from the packet and all other components were discarded. The film was then processed in chemicals containing metallic silver, framed and organized in a cardboard or plastic film mount, and stored together with a patient’s paper chart. In order to properly view these, the viewers would examine them on a lightbox in a dark room. Often, a magnifying glass was needed to examine the film images. While conventional film continues to be the most affordable option to obtain radiographs, the equipment and technology is becoming obsolete and time consuming compared to the digital alternatives.
With digital x-rays, reusable phosphor plates and sensors are used to capture and digitize x-ray images. These capture devices are covered with a disposable hygienic plastic sleeve so that they can be used for thousands to tens of thousands of exposures before they need to be replaced. For the purpose of detecting cavities, the image quality of digital x-rays are comparable to plain film. Additionally, digital images can be resized, enhanced, and easily shared with other providers for a collaborative treatment approach. Best of all, digital x-rays can never be lost and easily stored!
Benefits of digital xrays
- Educational. Because digital images can be scaled up in size, it is easy for providers to show and explain various findings to patients. We find that patients can relate to their treatment better and become motivated to improve their oral health once they understand what we see!
- Portable. Digital images can be quickly and easily shared between different providers so that patients are getting the best medical opinions.
- Green. Sensors can be reused infinitely until they get too damaged to use, do not generate significant amount of waste, and avoid environment-polluting processing chemicals.
- Low radiation exposure. Digital sensors require less radiation doses than film!
- Fast. Because digital sensors do not need to be put through a film processor, image acquisition is fast and so is diagnosis.
While the upfront cost of implementing digital radiographs is significantly higher than conventional film, we truly believe it is an investment in our practice, our environment, and our patients.