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Digital X-Rays: A Close Look Inside your Mouth

Posted on 5/6/2015 by Nic Grasvik
A digital x-ray of a patient's teeth.Digital x-rays, or digital radiography, are one of the most important advancements in dentistry that have been discovered in a long time. Using digital x-rays rather than film means that we can reduce patient exposure to radiation and also increase our ability to diagnose dental problems faster and easier. According to a 2007 dental survey taken by the American Dental Association, about 36% of US dentists are using some form of digital imaging.

Studies show that digital x-rays can reduce patient exposure to radiation by as much as 80% compared to regular film-based system, which up until recently have been used. Of course, regular film x-rays are very safe, but it is no doubt a good thing that radiation exposure with digital x-rays can be so minimal.

How Digital X-Rays Improve a Dentist's Diagnostic Ability

A digital x-ray image can be easily enhanced to help us make a more precise diagnosis. A digital image can easily be sharpened, magnified or colorized. These changes are controlled by software to optimize images of your mouth, but the data itself is not changed. It always is possible to go back to view the original digital image. These digital tools are built into the software programs that drive the system.

The digital x-rays are stored in the digital file of the patient, and may be viewed immediately at any time.

Another major diagnostic benefit of digital x-rays is its ability to superimpose images that are taken at various times. The computer can be instructed to highlight only the areas that have changed. This can be thought of as dental time-lapse photography. This allows us to see changes over time, which is a huge advantage for heading off dental trouble at the pass. This ability allows us to detect if a tooth has moved, if bone loss has occurred or if a filling or restoration has changed in any way.

Digital x-rays also allow a greater level of clarity and detail in dental imaging. In most cases today, digital imagery can surpass the quality of film imaging. This extra detail may allow us to see very small imperfections and fractures that might have not been seen on film.

Digital X-Rays Save Time and Money

Digital radiography also offers major time savings. Digital x-rays may be done quickly. The images can be viewed in under a second after they have been taken. On the other hand, it can take several minutes to develop film from traditional x-rays. This can add up to several hours per day of production time in a dentist office. The added administrative costs and time can affect how many patients can be seen in a day, as well as the cost of procedures.

Digital imaging also allows our dental practice to easily send images to other health care professionals in just minutes. For example, we can send along your digital dental images to an oral surgeon while you are still in the office. The surgeon can be looking at the images while you still are in our dental chair. This allows you to get your dental procedure taken care of faster.

Given the fact that Americans are living longer and longer lives, taking care of our teeth is more important than ever. Using digital x-rays in our regular dental care helps us to identify dental problems before they get serious. Therefore, going to a dentist who uses digital radiography could be a smart investment in your dental health.

Call us today to set up your appointment with digital x-rays and get on the road to good oral health! Call (503) 610-0114 today.


4690 SW Hall Blvd, Beaverton, OR 97005


(503) 350-1234


Mon: 9:00am–6:00pm
Tue: 7:00am–5:00pm
Wed: 7:00am–5:00pm
Thur: 8:00am–12:00pm
Fri: Closed
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