Digital X-rays Vs Traditional Radiography

In 1985, German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen first introduced radiology to the world. Since this breakthrough achievement into the science of x-rays, medical radiography has only continued to exceed technological boundaries and modern medicine. Since then, modern technology has taken this method and advanced it over and over, just like every other device out there today. While digital radiography is now more commonly seen in hospitals and dentist hygienist schools, many dentist offices still stick to the classic method and use film radiography. The most common reason why these dentistry and small doctor’s offices have not converted to new digital radiography is due to the cost and labor of installing new machines and having to train all staff on their usage. However, if we were to compare the two, we might see a few more benefits to each, specifically for a dentist’s office:

Digital Radiography

  • Digital images are immediately processed and available to view and sometimes can be viewed in 3D models, whereas film takes time to be developed.
  • 70% Less radiation exposure than radiography.
  • The images can be digitally archived on a computer.
  • Can produce larger photos to better locate hard-to-see cavities.
  • More environmentally friendly in the long run.
  • Digital offers Grey-scale of digital X-rays offers 256 shades of grey versus 16-25 shades in conventional radiography.

Film Radiography

  • Great picture quality
  • Most dentists’ office still use this conventional method that saves money.
  • Film sensors are not as thick and rigid as digital sensors, thus making it more comfortable for the patient when the X-ray sensors go into their mouths.
  • No extra training needed to use conventional X-ray machines.
  • Conventional film sensors can withstand heat sterilization where as digital sensors must have plastic covers.

As you can see there are pros for each and cons as well. Whichever is used however, they both assist in making sure your teeth are the healthiest they can be.


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