While dental X-rays emit low amounts of radiation and every precaution is taken to protect patients from exposure, some patients are still put off by dental X-rays for safety reasons. Dental X-rays also bring up other issues for patients, including the wait time for film to be developed and environmental concerns. I, along with so many dentists across the country, have addressed these issues with digital radiography, a high-tech replacement for traditional dental X-rays.
Digital Dental Xrays
With digital radiography, my registered assistant or hygienist inserts a sensor into your mouth to capture images of your teeth — but that’s where the similarities between conventional and digital dental X-rays end. Although it resembles the film used for bite-wings and other X-rays, the digital sensor is electronic and connected to a computer. Once the X-ray is taken, the image is projected on a screen for you, the hygienist or assistant and me to view.
Benefits of Digital Dental Radiography
Less Radiation — The equipment used in digital radiography exposes dental patients to much less radiation. In fact, digital X-rays use up to 90 percent less radiation than film X-rays. While conventional dental X-rays are relatively safe, digital radiography is an excellent option for those who take X-rays on a regular basis or for those who are concerned about radiation.
Shorter Dental Appointments — Digital radiography can also shorten your dental appointment! With traditional dental X-rays, you’ll have to wait while the film develops. With digital radiography, the sensor develops the picture almost instantly and projects it onto a computer screen right before your eyes.
Higher Quality Images — The standard size of traditional X-rays can make viewing difficult, but digital radiography has done away with the “one size fits all” mentality. Once on the screen, digital X-rays can be enlarged or magnified for a better visual of the tooth’s structure. Brightness, contrast and color can also be adjusted, allowing us to see small cavities easier. If you need a hard copy of your X-ray, digital images can also be printed out.
Transferring Dental Records — Digital images can be e-mailed to a dental specialist for immediate review. Digital X-rays have taken away the expense and time needed to copy files and mail them to another dentist, making it easier to transfer dental records or get a second opinion. As more offices are turning to electronic patient charts, computers may eliminate the need to mail dental records altogether.
Environmentally Friendly — Digital dental X-rays are better for the environment! With digital radiography, no chemicals are used to develop film. There’s also no wasted space of a darkroom and no need to store film, which can pile up in a dentist’s files.
Remember, dental X-rays, either traditional or digital, are an important part of your regular dental visits. Dental X-rays are necessary to help diagnose problems not visible to the naked eye. If you’re concerned about radiation, talk to us about your X-ray options.
About THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental reconstruction and TMJ/Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.