X-rays in the past had mass amounts of radiation and waste of materials.
Six reasons why the way we are doing business with digital radiography are as follows:
1. No chemical process. The chemicals we have used to process films are eliminated. This is great for the environment, not to mention the team member’s clothes
2. The x-ray packets are filled with paper, plastic and a metal strip inside of it. All of this waste is also eliminated.
3. The time sucker is reduced. Total x-ray time to set up, expose the film, run through the processor and mount on the holder is a process of about ten minutes for one film. For a whole series (20 films) it may be a process of 30 minutes and that is if all of your films are perfect. Instant gratification is placed upon the x-ray popping up on the computer screen in a matter of five seconds, and if you miss, add five more seconds to that. You know instantly if you have what you are looking for.
4. Availability to email the images to share with insurance companies and other specialists. This process is huge! Normally an assistant would be in the dark room for about three hours a week to duplicate x-rays and even then the image quality would be so poor that it would not be diagnosable. Not only does this save time but placed into a jpeg or tiff file can be transferred to others can be printed out or saved on a computer if the receiving party does not have digital qualities.
5. Patient education is greatly increased. Dentists know reading a one inch film over the course of the career how to treat the tooth. Our clientele has become a lot more discerning. We can enlarge the image and show the patient exactly where the decay is or the bone loss on a large computer screen.
6. Cost per image is greatly reduced leading to better quality. Some times the sway of how much the film costs can reduce the amount of images you need to take in order to make a proper diagnosis. With the only variable being time, you can take more images with less radiation exposure in order to make sure you have the quality image in order to make a diagnosis.
Digital radiology has changed the way I practice. When a patient comes in with a decayed tooth that is close to the nerve, I bring out the tool that helps me measure where the decay is and how close it is to the nerve. Some times it is just one millimeter away and the patient can see and understand the extent of the problems.