Designed image showing digital x-ray imaging examples representing past and modern technology, along with the Palos Heights Family Dental logo

Digital Dental X-Rays: An Inside Look at Dental Technologies

Designed image showing digital x-ray imaging examples representing past and modern technology, along with the Palos Heights Family Dental logo

Technology Investments Matter: Digital Dental X-Rays Pay Off for Patients, Hygienists, and Dentists

The practice of dentistry has evolved over centuries or even millennia. The tools we use have gone from very rudimentary to highly advanced. It’s been exciting to see the impact of new technology on our work and on our patients’ experience. 

We’re dedicated to staying up-to-date, and even ahead, without adding risk. That’s why we’re constantly evaluating, reviewing, and investing at the right time. We consider it our duty and our privilege to bring our patients the latest developments as soon as they’re proven. Once the science says it’s time, we do not hesitate to invest in upgrades that can make your experience better, easier, more comfortable, faster, or maybe more affordable. 

While some of our patients are happy to keep their minds off the dental work and focus on more fun things like catching us up on what’s happening in their lives, others notice and are curious enough to ask questions about new dental technology. We’re happy either way, but we thought that everyone might be interested in learning just a little bit more about the latest technologies we’ve already adopted in our office.

We’ll share details on four technologies. This month, we’re talking about digital dental x-rays.

Digital Dental X-Rays in the Recent Past

Before we get to what’s new, we thought we should remind you where we came from. Everyone remembers the uncomfortable cardboard pieces that we needed not so long ago to get x-rays of our teeth. 

The hygienist would place them carefully and ask you to bite down and hold them there while he or she went into the other room to take the picture. This would be repeated numerous times to get images of the whole mouth. This process was uncomfortable — even painful at times — for most patients, especially those with smaller mouths, like children. It also caused many patients to gag, which made it very difficult to get a good image, and sometimes we needed to redo them.

After the images were captured, they needed to be processed in a dark room, just like the photographs we look at in our family albums. That took time, which meant the patient had to sit and wait before the dentist could see the images and give them a full report on their dental health. 

In a time when we can virtually try things on, paint a room, or place furniture, you’d expect this process to be easier too. And you’d be right!

The Latest in Digital Dental X-Ray Technology

Just like the cameras in our smartphones and the GPS in our cars, x-ray imaging technology is now digital. Digital dental x-rays are faster, easier, and more comfortable for everyone involved — the patient, the hygienist, and the dentist! 

The digital version does not require those uncomfortable cardboard pieces. That means no more pinching, poking, or gagging. When the patient is more comfortable, we’re not only more comfortable but also much more likely to get the right image on the first try. 

It’s also easier because we don’t need to leave the room, and there’s literally no processing time — the image goes straight to our computer screen! The pictures are ready and waiting before the dentist even steps into the room. Amazingly, the images are better and they don’t even cost more than the old way.

We’ve shared before that many people worry and/or ask about the risk of radiation from dental x-rays. We always reassure them that the exposure is minimal, but now it’s even less. Digital dental x-rays reduce radiation by 10–20 times compared to the old method!

On top of the improvements to regular dental x-ray imaging, we also now have the capability to do 3D x-ray imaging in our sister office in Romeoville! That’s a huge benefit when it’s time to place implants. It allows us to do surgically guided implant placement and avoid hurting a nerve, a blood vessel, or sinuses in the soft tissue around the implant. Our patients here in Palos Heights have the benefit of the option to go to Romeoville for that kind of treatment. 

So there are no two ways about it. That’s a lot of good news for all of us. If you haven’t experienced the new way of taking dental x-ray images yet, that means it’s high time to come in for a checkup.

Digital Dental X-Rays: An Inside Look at Dental Technologies was last modified: April 20th, 2022 by Palos Heights Family Dental