Our office uses computers to help capture, store and transmit dental radiographs. Unlike conventional film which may take between three and five minutes to process, a digital radiographic image can be obtained and viewed quickly on computer. The image is displayed in a large format on the screen, in comparison with the small films that are viewed on a light box. With digital images, technical errors often can be corrected to provide an optimal radiograph without having to make another exposure. The dentist can use digital magnification to enhance specific problem areas of a tooth, as well as alter brightness and contrast in the image. Because the images are stored on the computer, they can be compared easily with future dental radiographs to see if and how conditions have changed. Digital radiographs eliminate the need for film and film processing chemicals that generate waste.
A radiographic examination may help the dentist see small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings); bone destruction from a tooth infection (for example, an abscess) or a cyst; bone loss due to periodontal (gum) disease; developmental abnormalities; some types of tumors; the effects of trauma; the position of unerupted teeth in children and adults.