During the last years, the number of commercially available digital radiographic systems has increased rapidly. Nevertheless, they are hardly used in practice because several drawbacks still hinder dental practitioners from using digital radiography effectively in their routine work. In order to allow effective use of such systems in the dental practice, they must be integrated into the daily routine in an ergonomically optimal way and be driven by software following the rules of cognitive ergonomy and perception. The most important prerequisite for meaningful use of digital radiography in the dental practice is that it supports instead of disturbs daily clinical work. The underlying software should be easily comprehensible and intuitively applicable. This paper discusses advantages and disadvantages of digital compared to conventional radiography and how the introduction of digital radiography in dental practice affects clinical work. A concept is introduced that enables effective and quality-controlled use of digital radiographic systems in the dental practice by taking cognitive ergonomic aspects of the clinical work situation into account. This concept comprises the design of image databases for efficient storage and retrieval, the quality-controlled use of image manipulation methods adapted to the clinical requirements during diagnostic interpretation, and the usage of decision support systems for diagnosis and therapy of radiographic lesions.