Digital imaging, or digital radiography, is a valuable diagnostic tool frequently used in dentistry, as well as other disciplines. It is an innovative technique that uses a computer to efficiently manipulate and store X-ray images. Using this technology provides immediate results, readily available for sharing and discussion with patients and with other medical or dental professionals.
Uses of Digital Imaging
Since X-rays are always a part of comprehensive preventative and curative dental treatment, digital imaging is especially helpful in this field. As an objective means of delivering visual information, digital imaging assists in:
- Detecting cavities
- Implementing cosmetic treatments such as tooth whitening
- Evaluating results of treatments for plaque and gingivitis
- Measuring for endodontic procedures
- Measuring for surgical implants
Digital imaging is also important and effective in tracking the progress of orthodontic treatment.
Benefits of Digital Imaging
X-rays have long been considered an important part of dental care. The new technology that enables dentists to use digital X-rays has several advantages over traditional X-rays. These include:
- Immediate diagnostic results
- Reduced radiation exposure
- Electronic storage of data
- High quality image production
While exposure to dental X-rays has generally been considered safe, digital X-rays reduce the patient's radiation exposure by more than 50 percent.
The accelerated speed of the digital process, in which the need for a darkroom and chemical processing is unnecessary, is especially important during surgical procedures when time is of the essence. When digital X-rays are taken, usable images are available within seconds, rather than minutes.
- Medline Plus
- National Institutes of Health
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine