Digital Radiography

glove showing xrayDigital Radiography in Oakville
Dental radiographs can provide important information about your oral health and help to identify signs of oral cancer. The radiographs also become an essential part of your dental records. Some of the things that they help diagnose include small areas of decay between the teeth which are not otherwise visible to the naked exam, some types of tumors, cysts, bone loss due to periodontal disease or bone destruction due to carcinomas or tooth abscesses, position of un-erupted teeth in children, developmental abnormalities, as well as various oral cancer such as mouth cancer, throat cancer and tongue cancer.

Digital radiography, like the one we use in our offices uses a radiography machine and a small electronic sensor that is placed in your mouth to capture the image. The image is transmitted to a computer which then displays that image. The radiographic image can be viewed both on a computer monitor or a large TV screen for the patient to see.

Conventional x-rays usually take pictures of a larger area of the body while dental x-rays take photos of a very small targeted area. The use of a cone to take a picture combined with a small target and a lead apron with a thyroid collar makes it very safe for the patient and the information gained from this is invaluable.

According to the American and Canadian Dental Association, the radiation you receive from digital radiography is very small to minuscule. The millisievert (mSv) is the scale used to measure radiation. You could be exposed to .038 mSv for 2 bitewing digital radiographs and .150 mSv from a full mouth series (about 18 photos).

When you compare this to;

CT Angiogram 16mSv

CT Chest 7mSv

CT GI Tract 5mSv

FULL MOUTH DENTAL DIGITAL RADIOGRAPH (18 pictures) 0.15mSv. Average natural radiation exposure in North America per year is 3.0mSv. One plane trip exposes you to .03mSv

The recommended maximum whole body radiation exposure per year is 50mSv (10mSv =1Rem)

As you can see the radiation exposure from digital dental radiographs is negligible. You are exposed to more radiation by living than you are by going for a dental visit. But the benefits from dental digital radiography are huge.

Some of the Digital Radiography Benefits Include:

  1. Higher Quality of Care. The equipment we use shapes the way our patients perceive our practice. Digital radiography reduces the exposure between 80-90%.
  2. No Chemicals for Developing. There are no harmful chemicals to use and store. There is no wait time for development of the picture taken and of course no more odours.
  3. ImageEnhance

  4. Referring and Sharing of Information. It allows us to email images to specialists, and or benefit companies in no time. There is better discussion with a colleague when both are looking at the same image.
  5. Image Enhancement. You can control the size, density, colour code, label, and place arrows. This allows us to better diagnose and once again communicate with others on the case. We can also share this image with the patient for great patient involvement and treatment acceptance.
  6. Image Quality. The image is of a much higher quality and helps us to avoid misdiagnoses and identify any oral cancer signs.
  7. Saving Space. No more saving x-rays in the patient’s charts or file, it is all electronically stored on a disc in the computer. Access can be from anywhere in the office and from home if we are working on a file.
  8. Production and Time Management. If the office must send images to an insurance company for a pre-determination or to a specialist we do not need to make duplicates and mail them, this is both time and cost saving.
  9. Lost X-Rays. No more lost images from the chart or from the mail, it is all electronic. All data is backed up daily, hence there are no lost or missing images.
  10. Lower Dose of Radiation. Patients are very happy about this and share this information with their friends, neighbours and colleagues. In turn this results in greater referrals for our office.
  11. Easier and Faster Usage. It is much faster and easier to utilize digital radiography than the conventional x-rays.

With this new advancement in technology, both the dentist and patient can be involved in the treatment planning as the patient can observe the same results the dentist analyzes. This leads to better care, patient acceptance, less radiation exposure and less environmental damage as a result of not using solutions and/or chemicals. It’s a win-win situation.