Digital Radiography in Dentistry: the Future of Imaging Technology

Digital Radiography in Dentistry: the Future of Imaging Technology

April 17, 2023 fakt_md_aDmEeN

Present-day dentists increasingly use dental x-rays when diagnosing and treating patients, like dentists have been doing for countless years. However, many have invested in state-of-the-art technology and training to incorporate the latest in dentistry to benefit their patients and practice.

Advances in dental technology no longer make it essential for dentists and patients to carry around physical x-rays like in the past because dentists are using a contemporary version of capturing digital images for viewing and storing the pictures in computers instead of developing them on films.

Dentists now use digital radiography, a version of x-ray imaging using digital x-ray sensors to replace conventional x-ray films to produce enhanced computer images of the teeth, gums, and other oral structures.

Dentists capture the images they need using three methods, including direct, indirect, and semi-direct techniques. Electronic sensors are placed in the mouth to capture images in the direct method, while the indirect method uses conventional x-rays as digital images. Finally, the semi-direct digital technique uses a sensor and scanner for converting dental x-rays into digital films.

Versions and Uses of Digital Dental X-Rays

The technology lets dentists capture pictures from the inside or outside of the mouth by taking intraoral and extraoral images. Intraoral x-rays are routinely taken to provide comprehensive images helpful to detect cavities, monitor the status of developing teeth, and monitor the teeth and bone health. Extraoral x-rays do not provide complete details like intraoral x-rays and generally are not used for identifying individual tooth issues. However, they help detect impacted teeth, monitor the development and growth of the jaw, and identify potential problems between the teeth, Jaws and TMJ joints, and other facial bones.

The technology enables dentists to capture different types of x-rays they need providing detailed images of the tooth from its crown to the level of the supporting bone. The x-rays also help detect tooth decay between the teeth and changes in bone density, besides helping determine the fit of dental crowns or restorations and the integrity of tooth fillings.

The advances have made detecting and treating dental problems faster and easier, saving time and money for patients and enabling dentists to work more quickly with patients having periodontal disease by detecting bone loss around each tooth. They can also detect endodontic lesions or dental abscesses from the technology at their disposal.

Benefits of Digital Imaging for Dentistry and Patients

The benefits of digital radiography compared to conventional x-rays include the following:

  • Digital imaging helps identify minor pollution areas between the teeth or beneath existing fillings, periodontal disease, bone infections, abscesses and cysts, and developmental abnormalities or tumors challenging to detect by a visual exam.
  • Digital images are instantly viewable on a computer screen after manipulation to enhance contrast for electronic transmission to specialists in real time without losing quality.
  • Early detection and treatment of dental issues help save time and money besides discomfort.
  • Digital micro-storage technology enables dentists to have greater storage capacity using space-saving drives instead of investing in physical infrastructure.
  • Digital x-rays can be instantly transferred to other dentists or medical professionals with compatible computer technology or photo printed for dentists without advanced techniques.
  • Digital imaging requires 50 to 80 percent less radiation than film, making it beneficial for patients concerned about radiation and benefiting dentists because they no longer have to invest in hazardous chemicals for developing films or disposing of harmful waste.
  • Most importantly, digital x-rays are easily stored in electronic patient records for quick transmission to insurance companies, consultants, or referring dentists to eliminate and reduce treatment disruption resulting in faster dental insurance reimbursements.

Downsides of Digital Dental X-Rays

The costs of investing in digital imaging are prohibitive for dentists, with conservative estimates ranging from $ 11,000-$ 15,000 for wired sensor systems without including the prices of computers, software, and other infrastructure. Dentists considering a wireless system may have to invest as high as $ 50,000 for the infrastructure and set aside additional funds for maintenance and service repairs.

Implementing dental imaging in dental practices requires additional training with periodic updating of existing technology to ensure dentists don’t have an obsolete infrastructure. In addition, the lack of digital radiography universally is another downside of this technology for dentists.

The dentist in NYC has invested in digital imaging and the training required to ensure patients are not exposed to excess radiation when needing dental x-rays and receive quick and comprehensive identification and treatment of their condition with the help of digital x-rays providing detailed images of their mouth and teeth.

FaktorDMD Cosmetic Dentistry & Implants — NYC utilizes digital radiography when providing dental treatments of most types. Consulting them to receive cosmetic dentistry treatments for aesthetic purposes helps patients receive the required treatment without exposure to radiation from conventional x-rays.

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