Dental X-Rays (cont.)
In the Pipeline
There's a newer X-ray technique that your dentist already may be using or
may soon be using. It's called digital imaging. Instead of developing X-ray
film in a dark room, the X-rays are sent directly to a computer and can be
viewed on screen, stored, or printed out. There are several nice benefits of
using this new technology including:
- The technique uses less radiation than the typical X-ray and there is no
wait time for the X-rays to develop -- the images are available on screen a few
seconds after being taken.
- The image taken, of a tooth for example, can be enhanced and enlarged many
times it's actual size on the computer screen, making it easier for your
dentist to show you where and what the problem is.
- If necessary, images can be electronically sent to another dentist or
specialist -- for instance, for a second opinion on a dental problem -- to
determine if a specialist is needed, or to a new dentist (if you move).
- Software added to the computer can help dentists digitally compare current
to previous images in a process called subtraction radiography. Using this
technique, everything that is the same between two images is "subtracted
out" from the image leaving a clear image of only the portion that is
different. This helps dentists easily see the tiniest changes that may not have
been noticed by the naked eye.
Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Dentistry.Last Editorial Review: 7/11/2008
Reviewed by Jay H. Rosoff, DDS, on March 1, 2007
Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD, on May 1, 2005
Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2005
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