Advantages and disadvantages of digital X-rays

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Many dental clinics now use digital X-rays as an alternative to traditional X-rays.

Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of digital radiography compared to the traditional X-ray technique:

Advantages of digital X-rays

  • Digital X-ray images can be seen instantly and dentists have much greater flexibility in terms of what they can do with the images and how they use and share them. Images are clearly visible on monitors and they can be shared in seconds via email; this enables quick ad effective communication between dental professionals. You can enlarge images to enjoy greater detail and change the contrast and brightness to further improve quality.
  • Digital X-rays are stored and shared on computers, so there is no need for paper filing; this reduces waste and prevents storage issues.
  • Digital X-rays are safer because they emit a much lower dose of radiation than traditional X-rays; typically, the dose is around 50-80 per cent lower.
  • Images can be shared very easily and quickly with other organisations, including hospitals and insurance providers.
  • Digital radiography is more environmentally friendly than traditional X-rays, as you don’t have to dispose of any film or other potentially dangerous substances.

Disadvantages of digital X-rays

The only real disadvantage of digital X-rays is the initial outlay cost for a digital X-ray unit. Typically, these machines cost around £10,000; it’s also important to factor I training costs when budgeting for a new X-ray machine.

Although digital X-rays are becoming more commonplace, not all dental practices and clinics use them and therefore the images are not universal.

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