Dental x-rays are pictures of the teeth, bones, and soft tissues around them. X-ray pictures can show cavities, damage to the bones supporting the teeth, and other hidden dental structures (such as impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts, or tumors) that cannot be seen during a visual examination.
For years, the only option when taking a dental x-ray was the exposure of a small film packet, which then took between 5 and 10 minutes to develop. Just as digital cameras have largely replaced film-based camera technology, digital radiography is moving towards taking the place of traditional film-based dental x-rays. Digital radiography, or computerized X-rays, is part of the high-tech services that we provide to our patients by utilizing the DEXIS® Digital X-ray system.
Digital X-rays use two-thirds less radiation than older film-based technology. Despite lower radiation levels, digital X-ray technology provides higher quality images. Instead of a piece of film, the system’s sensor is placed in the mouth to capture an X-ray. The DEXIS® system uses a sensor with rounded corners and a smooth casing that makes the process of taking X-rays more comfortable for patients and more efficient for our staff. Another benefit is time savings. There’s no waiting—as soon as the X-ray is taken, it appears within seconds on the computer monitor. Once the images are on the computer, the dentist and dental staff members can easily zoom in on problems, manipulate the images with software tools including magnification, compare current images with historical X-ray images, and allow patients to better see what the dentist sees. Since the images can be enlarged, patients are able to clearly visualize and understand the diagnosis and proposed treatment plan.
Since digital X-ray images are stored electronically they can be printed or copied similarly to a digital photo. Images can be electronically transmitted to other dental offices, insurance companies, patients, or consultants in a matter of minutes. Sharing the images with other healthcare professionals allows our doctors to share ideas about the management of our patient’s conditions.