X-rays have been taken and developed in the same traditional method for decades; a fairly recent advancement has been the introduction of digital X-rays which are now becoming mainstream amongst private dental practices.
Digital X-rays swap the standard film for a sensor which connects via a cable or wirelessly to a computer. The procedure for taking X-rays remains largely the same though different X-ray holders must be used to accommodate the sensor in various positions. The same intra-oral and extra oral X-ray views
apply to digital X-rays.
Digital X-rays have a number of advantages over the traditional method:
- The images are available instantly, saving time for both you and the dentist.
- The image can be manipulated and enhanced (e.g. in contrast or size) to aid diagnosis.
- Storage alongside medical records is made easy.
- They can be emailed to a new dentist if you relocate, or to the specialist if you have been referred somewhere else.
- The cost of digital X-ray machines used to mean that they were reserved for only the most expensive practices, but now they are becoming more affordable, the technology is much more widespread.
A slightly different technology, half-way between the traditional method and full digital imaging has been developed that allows X-rays to be taken normally, using a film then scanned into the computer for viewing, storage and manipulation.