Digital x-ray technology benefits both the dentist and the patient. Dentists can use the digital x-ray software to enhance images to allow them to diagnose patients more effectively and efficiently and the patient is exposed to much less radiation.
What are the differences between digital x-rays and traditional x-rays?
Dr. John Vitale: Well, I think the biggest difference is as follows. When you take a traditional x-ray, you take a picture of a tooth and you transfer that picture to a dental film, which you process, and you get your picture. It’s more like a photograph with a photo afterwards, where you have a piece of paper in your hand and you can look at what you’ve done.
When you have a digital x-ray, you take a picture and it’s transferred right to your screen immediately. What ultimately happens with it is you can enhance it, you can change the colors of it, you can magnify it. So, you have a wealth of different tools at your disposal rather than a fixed picture.
Are the same radiation risks at play with digital x-rays as there are with traditional x-rays?
Dr. John Vitale: No. The radiation risk is much different. Digital x-rays, when taken, expose a patient to 80% less radiation than a traditional x-ray. That’s the biggest difference.
Is the quality of the x-ray image better with digital x-rays?
Dr. John Vitale: It’s much better because after you take your x-ray with a digital x-ray unit, you can, with your software program, enhance, change the color, modify it. It gives you the tools that are necessary to come to a better diagnosis.
Does having digital x-ray equipment in your office allow you to scan for more oral health issues than you normally would if you only had traditional x-ray equipment?
Dr. John Vitale: Yes, it does. Again, because of your ability to change the density and enhance the pictures. We also have software programs along with the digital x-rays that would give you things like 3D pictures and items like that, which greatly enhance your ability to diagnose.
Digital x-rays give you the advantage of seeing the images right away. So, how does that impact the way you treat your patients?
Dr. John Vitale: Well, the impact is not minimal, but there’s a slight difference. You have to wait for your picture with your analog type x-ray unit, but with a digital x-ray you see things immediately. And again, with your ability to focus on a particular area and using the instruments that come with your software program for the digital x-ray unit, you can treat patients faster and more efficiently.
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