If you haven’t heard of digital x-rays yet, that’s okay! Today, we’ll be going over the basics benefits digital x-rays hold over traditional x-rays in a bit of detail and what those benefits mean for you as a patient.
Digital X-Rays & You
We’re so used to compromise in today’s society. It seems like every time some great new thing comes along, it brings with it just as many cons as it does pros. We’ve become used to paying more for the latest phone simply because it’s newer, even if it’s barely better; in fact, we’ve grown so accustomed to the idea that new things are better only because they’re newer, we can actually fail to grasp, or be skeptical of, new technology that actually does provide substantial benefits. The perfect example of this is digital x-rays.
We’ve all gotten dental x-rays before. By now, you’ve likely grown used to the idea of wearing a heavy lead vest while the most uncomfortable piece of plastic the dental hygienist could possibly find is left in your mouth and whomever is actually snapping this radiographic image of your teeth hides behind the thickest wall to avoid the radiation that is getting blasted inches from your face. Even after that, it takes seemingly forever for them to come back with an oversized piece of camera film that shows your skeletal structure, hopefully revealing the interior of your teeth – if not, then prepare for round two!
Well, digital x-rays solve pretty much all of that.
In the same way that digital cameras overtook the old crank cameras – where you had about 24 attempts at pictures that you couldn’t see and then relied on your ability to change out (and remember to develop/not lose) film canisters – and made them obsolete in a few short years, instead holding hundreds to thousands of high-resolution pictures that are easily viewed and accessed anywhere, digital x-rays are similarly phasing out the standard x-ray, but in even more ways.
From a patient experience vantage point alone, you will enjoy these benefits of the digital x-ray:
- Less radiation, therefore no more worry or bomb shelter treatment from the dental staff. To put this in perspective, the radiation levels of digital x-rays are about 80% lower than the already-considered-low levels of traditional radiation; in fact, a single digital x-ray shouldn’t even cause a noticeable spike in your radiation levels for a single day, let alone an entire year, which is how radiation dangers are measured.
- A complete comfort 180, whereas your last x-ray required the painful mouthpiece and a bomb-proof lead vest, digital x-rays are closer to a picture. All you’ll need is a simple sensor in your mouth that is designed to help form a clearer image (connected to a computer via wire), but it is a far cry from the level of discomfort you accepted from x-rays long ago.
- Much, much, less downtime, while the tech in a previous x-ray was arduously printing a large film x-ray that had to be looked at while holding it up to a light, the digital x-ray creates an instant image that can be diagnosed from instantly. Not only is it easier to retake an image if needed, it will almost never be needed, because the image is far more clear. Plus, the dentist comes in sooner, so you get out sooner.
- Better diagnostics, the clearer images remove the “best guess” cavities a lot of people are still walking around with. Yeah, scary as it may sound, any smudge on the film can lead to an unnecessary dental procedure; while rare, this used to happen a lot more than it will with a digital x-ray. The image is so clear, in fact, that your dentist can make a far more precise extraction of decay, meaning smaller, quicker fillings.
- Easier record access, while old film x-rays needed to be stored in a warehouse somewhere or literally “kept on file” at your dentist’s office, the new x-rays can be stored digitally on a number of servers or hard drive storage systems. Plus, as mentioned, even if the image were somehow lost (highly unlikely), there is not nearly as much fear or concern about subject to you to another x-ray from a radiation perspective.
- Less bulky, while not a huge concern for a patient, it does make for more comfortable and less imposing examination rooms. In fact, many digital x-ray machines are almost entirely out-of-sight when not in use, allowing your dentist easier access to maneuver around the exam chair, which means you’ll get through your appointment that much faster.
Most of the benefits listed also apply the dental practice; in fact, the benefits for dentists in terms of the amount of time saved on x-rays, diagnostics, and procedures alone makes the digital x-ray worth it for the practice. The only real con associated with digital x-ray machines and technology is that they are currently more expensive as an initial cost, they quickly pay themselves off to both dentist and patient alike for the host of benefits they provide. Plus, between the lack of film prints and physical storage that dentists will need to cover over time, the digital x-ray will literally pay itself off eventually.
At Balboa Victory Dental Office, we are proud to stay relevant and up-to-date on all the latest technologies in the dental industry, including digital x-rays. The benefits to patients and dentists alike made it an easy investment to make. We now can proudly offer our Encino and Lake Balboa patients a far better x-ray experience with much less risk and worry for radiation dangers.
Get in touch with our staff to learn more about our digital x-rays or schedule your next appointment!