Nellie Clark with Seasons of Smiles Dental reviewing digital x-rays.

Nellie Clark with Seasons of Smiles Dental reviewing digital x-rays.

X-rays are used every day in the medical and dental fields. They’ve become so common that we really don’t give them much thought. But there have been some incredible advancements made in radiology since Roentgen discovered x-rays in 1895.[1] Traditionally, x-rays have been taken on film and developed in a darkroom. Today’s technology has led us to digital x-rays, which offer a number of advantages over their conventional counterparts. At Seasons of Smiles Dental, we exclusively use digital x-rays to diagnose dental conditions. Here, we’ll explore why digital radiology is regarded as the safest, most effective approach to dental x-rays.

How do dental x-rays work?

Both traditional and digital radiographs are taken with a special tube that emits x-rays. As the x-rays pass through the mouth, the teeth and jawbone absorb more than the oral soft tissues. Therefore, the teeth appear lighter on the final image. Additionally, cavities and infection appear much darker because they don’t absorb as many x-rays as healthy tooth structure.

How are digital radiographs different from traditional x-rays?

While photographic film is used to take traditional x-rays, special sensors are used when capturing digital images. There are two types of dental x-rays:

  • Intraoral: To capture intraoral images, sensors are placed inside the mouth. These x-rays are beneficial for diagnosing specific areas and are commonly used to detect cavities, infection, and periodontal bone loss.
  • Extraoral: Also referred to as panoramic x-rays, extraoral images are taken with the sensor outside the mouth. This type of x-ray gives an overview of the entire dentition. It’s helpful for identifying the locations of the wisdom teeth, mandibular nerves, maxillary sinuses, and other orofacial landmarks.

Benefits of Digital X-rays

There are several advantages to using digital x-rays over traditional film radiographs. Let’s take a look at just a few of them.

Reduced Exposure to Radiation

Most importantly, digital imaging reduces radiation exposure by up to 80 percent. Dr. Norman Medina and our entire staff at Seasons of Smiles believe it is important to provide the safest, most effective treatment for our patients. When you have x-rays taken at our Camden office, rest assured you’re receiving the highest-quality care available.

Instant Imaging

Traditional film x-rays have to be developed in either a darkroom or a dental x-ray processor. This takes time. With digital imaging, the x-rays are ready to be viewed immediately. This allows the doctor and patient to converse about the findings instantaneously.

Because the x-rays are digital, they can easily be emailed to other dentists, as well. This can be especially helpful for collaborative cases – and it saves time for both the patient and the doctor.

Image Manipulation

Digital images can be altered once they are taken. We can lighten, darken, zoom in, adjust contrast, and more. This allows Dr. Medina to accurately visualize the oral anatomy for a proper diagnosis.

Environmentally Conscious

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the environmental benefits of digital x-rays. Because there is no need for chemical processing, digital radiographs produce far less waste. Film x-rays require fixer and developer, not to mention the films themselves. By doing away with these things, we can eliminate the environmental impact of traditional x-rays.

Contact Our Camden, ME Practice Today

Next time you stop in for a visit, ask us about our digital dental x-rays! We usually recommend that patients have a new set of x-rays taken every year. We may take them more often if there are areas we need to monitor. To learn more – or to schedule an appointment at Seasons of Smiles – call us at (207) 236-4740.

[1] https://www.nde-ed.org/EducationResources/CommunityCollege/Radiography/Introduction/history.htm

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