A Comparison of Digital Radiographs: What It Means For You



The above images are both considered bitewing radiographs that a patient would receive at a routine dental hygiene visit.  Do they  look the same to you?  Which would you prefer?  The radiograph that shows all of your tooth? Or just 1/3- 1/2 of your tooth?  What if I told you the larger image that shows more of your tooth has significantly less radiation exposure than the smaller image?  

The larger image is from our Planmeca Promax imaging machine.  Here is why is it better…

1 Better patient acceptance.  No sensor goes in the mouth so there are no issues with gagging or discomfort.

2 Faster.  The image on the top takes less than a minute, while the other takes 5-10 minutes.

3 More diagnostic.  There is a greater field of view.  You can’t diagnose any issues if you can’t see them.

4 Less radiation exposure.  The image on the top has FIVE times less radiation than the image on the bottom.

The image on the top was taken in 2015 and the image on the bottom was taken in 2014.  Because the larger image shows a greater field of view,  we were able to diagnose an abscess (see arrow pointing to dark areas) that would have been missed if an image such as the one on the bottom was made.  The patient was completely asymptomatic and unaware of any infection.  The infection was able to be treated and resolved before the patient experienced the painful effects of a potentially life threatening infection.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Jill Colson