What is Digital Radiography and How Does it Work?

What is Digital Radiography and How Does it Work?

April 1, 2022

Physical examination may not reveal the detailed underlying condition of a patient. Modern diagnostic science has developed immensely to facilitate the medical practitioner with a clearer view of the underlying conditions without invasive procedures. Digital radiography or digital x-rays have benefitted dentists in Coquitlam to detect cavities or other dental ailments.

What is Digital Radiography?

Digital radiography, often abbreviated as DR is an advanced form of x-ray and digital image that instantly produces radiographic images on a computer screen. The DR technique uses an x-ray sensitive plate to capture the digital image during the examination of the patient and transfers the image instantly to a computer without using an intermediate disc or cassette. The incident x-ray radiation is converted into a signal equivalent to an electric charge through a detector sensor.

Unlike other imaging devices, the flat panel detectors are known as digital detector arrays (DDAs) are proven to provide a better quality of digital images. They possess a better signal-to-noise ratio and have an improved dynamic range that gives higher sensitivity for radiographic applications.

Why Use Digital Radiography?

Digital radiography has numerous advantages to detect a clear image of the underlying conditions. DR has opened a new avenue for doctors and dentists. Within a short period, the dentists can detect the level of dental trauma or the extent of decay and treat accordingly. The various advantages of digital radiography are:

  • The application is real-time
  • DR uses a shorter exposure time
  • Improved digital detectability
  • Linearity and enhanced SNR
  • Presence of defect detection software and use of analysis tool
  • No chemical processing of the digital film is required, hence reduced time for inspection
  • Environment-friendly as DR eliminates processing of chemicals
  • Portability
  • Higher productivity
  • Immediate feedback and results
  • Easily electronically transferrable to customers and patients
  • Multiple thickness levels can be inspected in a single go due to increased dynamic range

Digital X-rays Vs. Traditional X-rays

Radiography with x-rays is the initial point of screening and diagnosis of various health issues including pneumonia. Digital radiography provides a clear image of the underlying tissues and bones so that the doctor can have a clearer idea and diagnose accordingly.

Traditional x-rays have been in use since the early 1900s when a photographic film is used to capture the images of internal organs of the human body. With time and the advancement of technology and the incorporation of computers, digital radiography has become a safer, cost-effective, and efficient way of detecting diseases.

The traditional x-rays are more like a camera with films that were used to capture images of internal organs. X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that is similar to visible light. The only difference is that x-rays contain higher energy and can pass through the human body.

Digital x-rays resemble today’s digital camera. Here the difference from traditional x-rays is that the sensors are connected to a computer instead of being connected to a film. This change enables digital x-ray images to be cleaner and more distinct.

The common thought associated with x-rays is the level of radiation. Even though this is a diagnostic treatment but patients are still queasy. Some oral medicine specialists might ask you to wear a lead apron while getting dental x-rays and this can only compound the fear. On the contrary, the radiation emitted by x-rays is low and safe. The radiation level of modern x-rays is even lower by 80% than the traditional ones.

Traditional x-rays used photographic plates that involved the use of chemicals to develop the image. Those chemicals are toxic and if not correctly disposed of, can affect the environment adversely. Moreover, the packaging to hold the film and developing materials are hazardous to the environment. You do not have the headache of disposing of wastes with digital x-rays.

x-rays are performed to get a clear image of the body parts not visible to the naked eye. Digital radiography provides a clearer and more distinct image in comparison to traditional x-rays. With digital x-rays, record keeping is also easy and does not utilize more space like the traditional x-rays. Digital x-rays are also safe for x-ray-sensitive patients.

You may book an appointment with Tri-Cities Dental Specialists to experience a one-stop-shop for all your dental needs. We offer flexible schedules and have dentists with over 25 years of experience.

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