Film vs. Digital Radiography

by Larry Emmott on June 1, 2012

in Radiography

From David Gane

For many dentists, transitioning to digital radiography after using film for most of their careers seems like a monumental change. However, the benefits for your dental practice (as well as the patient) are clear. Consider this chart

via Film vs. Digital Radiography—Have you looked at digital lately? (Chart) | The Digital Image Stream – Conversations From the Chair.

It is hard to believe we are still having this conversation. Dentists I talk to use the same excuses as to why they use film instead of digital. I know all the excuses and I know all the rationals and frankly they just don’t hold up to real life experience. It is like a dentist in the sixties stubbornly holding on to his old belt driven handpiece, refusing to use those new air turbines, because well just because they are too new, too different.

The list Dr. Gane has put together is good. However there is one advantage  which I find is seldom mentioned yet is a huge clinical advantage.

Most everyone is aware that a major advantage of digital x-rays is the speed of acquisition. Once the sensor is exposed the image is produced within seconds. This of course saves the time of going to the processor, opening the film packs waiting for the chemical processing then labeling and mounting the films. However there is another advantage to fast image acquisition which is rarely appreciated. The operator does not need to remove the sensor in order to see the image.

This creates a tremendous clinical advantage. For example if the doctor takes an x-ray and inadvertently misses the apex, he or she will see the error within seconds. The tube head or sensor (which has not moved) can be re-arranged as needed and another image taken immediately. In this way the operator can insure that hard to see structures can be captured for proper diagnosis.

With a film pack or a phosphor storage system the film or plate must leave the mouth and be processed. The operator will not see the image for several minutes. If there is an error the operator will need to re-position the tube and film with no physical reference point to return to to improve the image.

For more help with Digital Radiography look here and here.

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