Digital x-ray technology is a new and improved form of radiography that uses a digital image capturing device rather than an x-ray film to take dental photos. This technology helps create high-definition images with less radiation exposure. At Oral and Facial Surgery Center, we use digital x-rays for improved detection, diagnosis, planning, and treatment of your dental and oral issues.
Types of Digital X-Rays
There are two main categories of digital x-rays: intraoral and extraoral.
Intraoral x-rays, as the name indicates, are taken inside the mouth. They are the most common types of x-rays. Intraoral x-rays give highly detailed imaging of the conditions of the mouth, including detecting cavities, checking tooth development, and diagnosing the health of the bone.
Intraoral x-rays include:
Extraoral x-rays do not provide as highly detailed imaging as intraoral radiographs and cannot diagnose tooth problems like cavities. However, they are very useful in checking the development and growth of the jaw, impacted teeth, and any issues in the facial and jawbones.
Some common types of extraoral x-rays are:
Benefits of Digital X-Rays
Digital x-rays have many benefits over traditional film-based x-rays.
Digital x-rays images are immediately available for viewing while traditional x-ray films take some time to develop. Images are generated extremely fast and help in reducing examination time. They also produce high definition images with less radiation exposure. Since the level of radiation is low, it is safe for pregnant women to have a couple of x-rays as well.
Digital x-rays can also be enhanced, zoomed out, cropped, and edited on the computer screen. The enhanced imaging option allows us to view oral issues much easily as compared to traditional x-rays. They also allow us to change the contrast so that we can have an improved view of a section of the image. They also have 256 shades of grey while traditional x-rays have just 16-25 shades.
Another great advantage of digital x-rays is that they are "greener" than traditional x-rays. Since they do not use x-ray films, exposure to hazardous chemicals and fumes is eliminated. It also saves costs associated with films, chemicals, and the dark room.
Limitations of Digital X-Rays
Digital x-rays also have a few downsides. One of the biggest drawbacks is that the systems can be expensive. They also have to undergo regular maintenance, which will generate further costs.
Some systems that generate digital x-rays also tend to be larger and bulkier than traditional x-ray systems. This means they can be a bit uncomfortable for the patient to use.
For dentists, digital radiography also has a steep learning curve, which requires hours of training and more training as technology advances.
If you suspect you have dental and oral issues, call us at 337-443-2533 for our Lafayette location or 337-381-3663 for our Opelousas location to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kennedy or Dr. Ardoin. They will determine which type of digital x-ray can best diagnose your dental issues and come up with a treatment plan.