Printing a Digital X-Ray

The secret to printing digital x-rays can be found in an old Nike ad.

Just Don’t Do It

When you hand a printed radiograph to an experienced (old) dentist the first thing he/she does is hold it up to the light to look through the solid paper. That makes as much sense as printing it in the first place, and is done for the same reason. That’s just the way we’ve always done it.

There is rarely a good reason to make a physical hard copy. After all, one of the primary benefits is that the image is digital.  Remember the benefits of digital  the data can be stored transmitted and enhanced with a computer. Once it is printed you lose all that.

You do not need to print it for the chart it is stored as an electronic record.

You do not need to print it for someone else; it is quite easy to transmit the digital image to anyone with a computer. It could be send via Internet or copied to removable media. The recipient does not need fancy dental radiography software; they can then view the image with basic image display software. On the other hand, if the recipient has radiography software they may import the image. Ideally images transmitted between professionals should be HIPAA compliant and follow the DICOM protocol.

You do not need to print it for diagnosis; in fact diagnosis from a hard copy is extremely limited compared to an enhanced digital image.

For more help with Digital Radiography look here:

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