The diagnosis and identification of disease is very important because proper treatment and management is only given when the condition is properly identified. A careful assessment of the signs and symptoms will help the dentist in his investigation; like a detective, he looks into the clues and identifies the problem. Diagnosis and identification is carried out with the help of different methods with clinical inspection being the most basic. This is supported by acquiring dental photographs, casts and radiographs —- for a definitive diagnosis.
A radiograph gives a two-dimensional picture of the teeth, the bone and adjacent structures. It takes a picture of things that are normally unseen by the naked eye, so that the underlying condition of the bone, the gums is easily identified.
Entering the Digital Age:
This world has come into the digital age with everything computerized and in digital format. Radiographic films, although not exactly obsolete, are slowly becoming least popular given the introduction of digitial x-rays. Today, dental x-rays are now captured digitally and such technology and advancement has made great contributions in the dental field:
– More convenient image processing. In a traditional radiography method, it does not matter if it is carried out manually or with the use of equipment, it follows a process. For the image to be visible on the film it will have to be submerged into the developer and fixer. Without a machine is can be very tasking, especially since it is very technique sensitive; with a developing machine, though, it is still complicated —- so the convenience and practicality that digital radiography offers is very dependable.
– Reduced exposure to radiation. Radiation is part and parcel of x-ray exposures. When an x-ray is taken, the picture can only be produced by exposing the area and the film to radiation. In Dentistry, radiation produced by the equipment is far less compared to other types, but it is exposure that should still be avoided. In digital x-rays, radiation is kept to a minimum, lowered to as much as 70-80%.
– Efficient record-keeping. Since the images can be kept and saved as digital files in the computer, they can be kept with the computerized charts. This allows better reference when needed; and it makes data transfer between patient and doctor; or doctor and colleague because the files can be send through electronic mail, internet chat and other digital means.
– Image enhancement. Given that the images are produced digitally, the images can also be manipulated digitally. This gives the dentist and the patient the opportunity to enhance images for better viewing. The images obtained can be enlarged, cropped and enhanced for better identification, patient education and diagnosis.
– Less equipment, instruments and tools. With traditional x-rays, you need the equipment, the x-ray films, the developer and fixer (with possible use of a developing machine and/or a developing chamber. With digital x-rays, the process is more simplified because the digital x-ray machine is connected to a computer or monitor, which will display the image.