Your oral health is just as important as your overall health and wellbeing. As such, it should come as no surprise that there are various types of tests available to see exactly what's going on in your mouth. At Riverstone Family Dentistry one such test we offer is digital radiography. This is a type of x-ray imaging in which we use digital sensors whereas in the past we'd use traditional photographic film.
Introducing Digital Radiography
Digital radiography first started in 1977 and was then introduced into the clinical setting in 1980. However, it wasn't until 1987 when the medical industry first started the transition towards digital radiography and when Fuji developed and sold the first computed radiography system (a.k.a. CR). It opened the radiography industry to new technology - one that would eventually replace analog film. The reason it was so easily and readily adopted is that it produces enhanced images of your teeth and gums, as well as any conditions that are affecting them.
Digital radiography works because x-ray sensors are used in the imaging instead of using the photographic film that was traditionally necessary. These were replaced with flat panel detectors (a.k.a. FPDs). They're available as indirect FPDs and direct FPDs. The main difference is that with a direct FPD, you'll have the electronic photons directly created into a charge.
When you visit our office, we may need to take either intraoral (inside the mouth) or extraoral (outside the mouth) x-rays. Intraoral x-rays include bitewing (taken while you bite down on film) and periapical (a.k.a. limited) x-rays (taken of the crown to the root tips and supporting bone structure). On the other hand, extraoral x-rays include panoramic (a.k.a. panorex), multi-slice computed tomography (a.k.a.MCT), cephalometric projections, sialography, and cone beam computerized tomography (a.k.a. CBCT). Each type of x-ray is used for its specific purpose.
Differences and Advantages of Digital Radiography Over Traditional Radiography
With digital radiography, we now have a way to process and view the x-rays of your mouth immediately. This means we don't have to wait for the film to be developed like with traditional x-rays. Of course, this is only one of the many advantages to and reasons why digital radiography is better than traditional radiography. For instance, you'll receive 70% less exposure to radiation than you would with a traditional x-ray. Radiographers also benefit from this because they don't have to spend time enclosed in a space that contains toxic materials as they develop your x-rays.
All this takes much less time than traditional radiography to process, transfer, and enhance images so we can quickly determine if you have any issues and what they are. These images are also much clearer, which is beneficial to you because you'll know for certain any recommended treatment is necessary.
Whether you feel that you need digital radiography or some other type of exam, give Riverstone Family Dentistry a call at (360) 326-1443. We can schedule an appointment with you to get this exam done so that you'll know the exact state of your oral health.