At Woodcreek Dental, we strongly believe that early diagnosis of dental problems can be beneficial in preserving the health of our clients. This is why we have invested in digital radiography. Digital radiography is a type of medical imaging that utilizes digital x-ray sensors to produce superior images of teeth, gums, tongue, and other oral areas. These are a big improvement on previously used photographic x-ray film.
These images are created in three different ways. The first is the direct method that involves the use of a sensor that is placed inside the mouth to take images. The second option is the indirect method whereby an x-ray film scanner is applied to traditional dental x-rays and creates digital pictures. The third is the semi-indirect method that uses a combination of the sensor and scanner to transform dental x-rays into digital images.
Types of Digital Dental Radiographs
Digital dental radiographs can be captured in different ways. From inside the mouth, intraoral, bitewing x-rays can be taken. This involves the patient biting down on a film that provides images detailing the condition of upper and lower teeth in that area. The image extends from the crown of each tooth to the supporting bone. Periapical x-rays are also taken intraorally and are used to expose tooth root and surrounding bone structure anomalies.
Extraoral x-rays are taken from outside the mouth. They provide a larger view, rather than focus on individual tooth concerns. They include panoramic x-rays that scan around the head to capture the full arch of a patient in one image. Multi-slice computed tomography (MCT) is used to capture the image of a particular layer or slice of the mouth region. Phosphor plate systems are used to capture intraoral images and are then fed into a machine that produces the digital pictures and sanitizes the plate for the next scan.
Cone beam systems produce 3D images of interior structures, while cephalometric projections display the whole head, with a focus on teeth position, jawline, and profile. Sialography requires the injection of dye into salivary glands to check for any glandular problems. CT scans are also often used in dentistry to determine if the bone can support implants and guide difficult surgical extractions.
Benefits of Digital Radiography
One of the key benefits of these radiographs is that they offer a clearer view of hidden areas where decay, infections, and other abnormalities cannot be visually seen. This helps ensure quick diagnosis for patients, often within the same day. Where this is done as part of regular dental exams, it can also mean an early diagnosis with much less recovery time and cost.
As the images are digitized, they can easily be shared with a specialist or other dental professional. This means a faster consultation if diagnosis proves tricky. For clinics without the equipment, it also means quick transmission or printing of results once the scan is done, for diagnosis to be done. Many of the sensors and other equipment require less than half the radiation of older imaging, making them safer.
Given the clearer images, deeper contrasts, 3D imaging, and ability to manipulate the images at different angles, diagnosis’s are now more precise and can be more easily explained to patients. Digital images are also easier to preserve electronically, meaning less room needs to be provided in the physical file.
Whatever the treatment or exam that requires the use of dental radiography, we are best placed to provide the service. Get in touch with us at Woodcreek Dental at (805) 482-6389 to make an appointment.