Monday, 19 November 2012

21st century dentistry - digital imaging

One of the most significant advances in dental care has been the development of digital imaging.  Does your dentist use the latest equipment?

Thanks to technological advances, the days of the dental nurse disappearing to develop x-rays are fast becoming a thing of the past for many practices.  Furthermore, intra-oral cameras now enable dentist to take close up photographs of your teeth so that you can see exactly what is wrong.

Digital x-rays are taken in exactly the same way as traditional ones either using a digital version of an x-ray plate or a sensor which is connected to the computer by a cable.  The digital plate is then passed through a scanner (sensor based systems do not require this step) and the image appears on the computer screen in the surgery.  There are a number of advantages to these systems - firstly, they do not use hazardous chemicals to develop the images, secondly, the dose of x-rays required is generally lower than for traditional x-rays and thirdly the images can be e-mailed or saved to a CD-ROM or flash drive if needs be.  Some practices also have panoramic x-ray machines (sometimes called OPGs or orthopantomograms) which take an x-ray of the whole mouth in one go - again, these are digital and have all of the advantages set out above.

Turning to intra-oral cameras, these are about the size of an electric toothbrush and, thanks to their shape and very short focal range (typically a few millimetres), can take very detailed close-up photographs inside the mouth and display the results instantaneously on the surgery computer screen.  The latest models also incorporate diagnostic modes enabling the display of plaque build up and caries (tooth decay).

At AllClear our x-rays and OPG are fully digital.  We also have a state of the art intra-oral camera with diagnostic capability and chairside monitors so that our dentists can show and talk through the images with you while you are in the chair.  For further information or to book an appointment, please call in, phone 020 8688 3869 or see our website.

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