Understanding the Benefits of Digital X-Rays

Understanding the Benefits of Digital X-Rays

Your dentist can discover a lot about your oral health simply by looking inside your mouth. To locate hidden tooth decay or detect problems that aren’t visible during a routine dental exam, however, they must rely on dental X-rays. 

Also known as radiograph images, dental X-rays were first used in the late 1890s. Following decades of advances and improvements, they became a fundamental element of preventive oral health care by the 1950s.  

Today, X-rays are an invaluable diagnostic tool that helps reveal minor dental issues before they progress into major problems. At Smiles in Springfield in Springfield, Virginia, we use the safest, most advanced radiographic technology available: digital X-rays.   

Here’s why digital X-rays are superior to conventional dental X-rays in practically every way. 

Dental X-rays explained

Dental X-rays use electromagnetic waves, or low-dose radiation, to produce detailed images of the structures inside your mouth. Dense structures like dental fillings are bright white in X-ray pictures, while less dense structures such as your tongue, gums, and teeth appear in varying shades of gray. 

During a routine dental exam, the team at Smiles in Springfield may use X-rays to:

By revealing hidden decay, damage, and disease that can’t be seen in a visual oral exam, X-rays provide a clear, complete picture of your current oral health that helps protect your future oral health. 

Advantages of digital X-rays

Dental X-rays are classified by type based on how they’re taken: intraoral X-rays take pictures from inside your mouth, and extraoral X-rays take pictures from the outside. 

They’re also categorized by the technique they employ to capture those pictures: conventional photographic X-ray film, or digital X-ray sensors.  

Just as other tools, techniques, and treatments of modern dentistry have evolved over time, so too have dental X-rays. Digital X-rays have several major advantages over old-school film X-rays, including:

Higher-quality images

Digital dental X-rays create complete, high-quality images of your teeth, gums, and other oral structures. Displayed on a high-definition computer screen, these pictures can be enhanced and refined through contrasting, colorizing, 3D, sharpness, flip, and zoom features. 

What’s more, digital X-ray pictures have a superior grayscale that offers over 250 shades of gray, compared with the 16 to 25 shades of gray present in standard radiography images. 

Because their images can be enlarged as well as manipulated to enhance contrast and detail, digital X-rays make it easier to detect and interpret areas of concern. This often translates into a faster, more accurate diagnosis and more timely treatment. 

Quick capture, instant viewing

Compared with traditional photographic dental radiographs, digital X-rays are quick — they don’t require excessive prep time, and they don’t need to be developed after they’re taken. 

In fact, as soon as the digital X-ray exposure button is pressed, the image appears on a nearby computer screen. Quick capture and instant viewing are especially advantageous when retakes are necessary, as they can be done right away. 

Minimal radiation exposure

Traditional photographic X-rays use a small amount of radiation to take pictures of your teeth, gums, and oral structures. Although that amount is safe, the least amount is always the safest amount when it comes to radiation exposure.  

Digital X-rays have ultra-reactive sensors that use 70% less radiation than old-school X-ray film to produce high-quality pictures. This technology abides by the “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) principle, which promotes radiation safety in medical and dental care. 

Easy to store and share

Digital X-rays can be stored easily in electronic patient records. They can also be transmitted electronically to other dentists and specialists with compatible software, or photo-printed for providers who don’t share the same systems. 

Better for the environment

Unlike traditional photographic X-rays, which are processed with chemicals and generate hazardous waste, digital X-rays are chemical-free, waste-free, green, and eco-friendly. 

To schedule an appointment or learn more about the digital dental X-ray services at Smiles in Springfield, call 703-634-4239 today. 

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