An image displaying a set of ill-shaped molars is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “digital,” so you may be surprised to learn of the impact that digital imaging has made on the dental industry. And despite the slow and reluctant acceptance by some dental clinics, digital imaging has already transformed the profession.
Dental Radiology Then and Now
It’s been about 25 years since Francis Mouyen and Trophy Radiologie launched the first system of digital radiology. Essentially, Mouyen discovered a way to replace the film that was (and still is, as we will soon discuss) used in all dental x-rays with an image receptor.
The most popular option for digital x-rays is done by inserting an electronic sensor into the mouth so it can record images. Digital also makes it possible to view traditional x-rays as digital images.
What’s the Holdup?
A quarter of a century later and some dental clinics have still chosen not to adopt digital technologies into their practice. Their main complaint stems from the uncertainty of completely changing their process and the initial cost of equipment and training staff on how to use the new technology. And while changing over to digital is admittedly no small task, the benefits are numerous and clearly outweigh the previous era of using regular film.
The first advantage is that it reduces the radiation dose on the patients–up to 50%, in some cases. The need for a dark room has now become irrelevant, as has the need to find a safe and environmentally responsible way to dispose of the chemical waste from the film.
Enhancing of the images is another benefit of digital radiology. Once the images are taken, they can be zoomed and/or optimised in a multitude of ways, which helps in detecting any oral health problems. This is important because it also allows for poorly exposed images to still be used effectively without having to retake the scan.
Once digital images are taken, they can be transferred to distant sites through what is called teleradiography. This helps in instances of having to send images for insurance, as well as with off-site consultation, which assists with providing better care to patients living in remote areas.
Some things are all but inevitable, and if that inevitability is positive and shows a better way to do things, then people should not be so strong in their resistance.
Princeview Dental considers itself a progressive dental clinic that prides itself on being informed with new technologies which can only improve the service to our patients. We have utilized digital technology for many years and have recently purchased a new state-of-the-art dental x-ray system. Contact Princeview Dental for more information or to book an appointment.
Kapila, A.S., “Digital Radiograhy: A New Era In Dental Radiology,” The Financial Express, February 7, 2015; http://www.financialexpress.com/article/healthcare/in-imaging/digital-radiography-a-new-era-in-dental-radiology/40162/.