One of the best things about a digital x-rays is that they are…wait for it…they are…digital! That means we can use diagnostic software to examine and possibly enhance the image and improve our diagnostic efficiency. Most dentists believe that digital radiography is all about the sensor, but when it comes to diagnosis it is all about the software.
With digital radiography we tend to forget we can enhance the image; we are used to analyzing a similar non digital film image with our eyes so we don’t easily appreciate the software analysis. Most dentists in fact just analyze and diagnose from the raw digital radiograph with their eyes. Just as they did film in the past; it just seems like a different version of the same old diagnostic.
Here is an example of how software can enhance diagnostics. These images are from the XDR Radiography system.
Above is a raw image straight from the sensor. Can you detect interproximal decay? Most dentists can see the lesions but we feel the image is “fuzzy” not as clear as we are used to with film.
Now look at the same image after a “sharpening” tool has been applied.
The sharpened image is more like film and most dentists find it better diagnostically. Interestingly the sharpening tool extracts data to make grayscale changes more abrupt. Here is what Dr. Doug Yoon a dentist and the brains behind XDR Radiography says about sharpening.
“I think sharpening can serve as a visualization aid by making the fuzzy borders of lesions look more distinct (even though we all know lesions really do have fuzzy borders).”
The point to remember is that a primary advantage of a dgital image is that it can be enhanced with software. Don’t judge digital radiography by the image alone it is both a high quality image and good diagnostic software that makes digital better than film.