When a dentist is presented with a problem, he makes a thorough assessment of the case in order to offer proper dental treatment. Some diseases are easily detected, so that the problem is easily resolved; but there are some conditions that are more complicated, so requiring extra attention and perfect judgement.
Ideally, visual inspection is enough to confirm the presence of disease. The patient opens his mouth and under the light, the dentist is able to identify the problem. Aided with his tools, he looks into mouth and makes a definitive diagnosis of the case. Sometimes, when the problem lies within visual inspection is not enough so a radiograph is required. An x-ray is able to take an image of the given tooth or area, so that it reflects any problems in the inner layers of the teeth and the bone. When the problem cannot be confirmed, for sure, an x-ray can be taken.
Nowadays, there are two types of x-rays available for dentists to use: the digital x-rays and the traditional film x-rays. Both take an image to reflect the bone and the inner layers of the teeth but they are different in so many ways:
- Low radiation exposure. One very significant benefit that one can enjoy less radiation exposure. Conventional radiographs rely on radiation for the image to be captured on the film but this is not the same with digital x-rays. As a matter of fact, radiation exposure is not going to be an issue so it is safe for the dentist to take multiple x-rays without endangering himself, his team or his patient.
- Digital image manipulation. Since the images are created and presented in the computer, the images are easily manipulated on the computer so that details on the image may be enhanced for better viewing and use. This is not at all possible in the conventional radiograph without subjecting the patient to more exposures.
- No need to take multiple images. Given that the image can be manipulated on the computer, it can also be duplicated in the computer. If a closer view is necessary, zooming the picture in will be enough. This makes digital x-rays so much more convenient and safe for use.
- Efficient digital storing. When traditional x-ray films are stored, there is no guarantee that they will be of the same quality after several years inside a packet or a plastic cover. Storage options are more conveniently offered for digital x-rays because the images are loaded onto the computer and they can be kept in file for years as a digital image. They may be combined by the computerized chart of the patient; and they may be uploaded for sending through email and so forth.
- No need for messy developing inside dark rooms. When conventional x-rays are processed, it needs to be processed in a developer solution and then a fixer. This is quite messy, complicated and should be done in a dark room. When digital x-rays are used, there is no need for this. As a matter of fact, the production of images is more efficient because it is automatically transferred to the computer after it is taken.
Surely digital x-rays are more expensive. The equipment used to take the image is expensive, and given that it can be quite difficult to obtain. Conventional x-ray machines are more affordable, so even if digital x-rays are the better choice, some have no choice but to take the conventional route.