Filmless imaging: the uses of digital radiography in dental practice

J Am Dent Assoc. 2005 Oct;136(10):1379-87. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2005.0051.


Background: As use of digital radiography becomes more common, many dentists are wondering if and how they can replace conventional film-based imaging with a digital system. This article briefly describes the different technologies used for digital radiography in dentistry. The article provides general practitioners with a broad overview of the benefits and limitations of digital radiography to help them understand the role the technology can play in their practices.

Overview: The two technologies now available are solid-state systems and phosphor plate systems. Each has its strong points, and the choice of which to use depends on the type of dental practice. Image processing improves the diagnostic quality of the radiographic information. Advanced image-processing techniques, such as subtraction radiography, are available for specialized clinics.

Conclusions and clinical implications: Digital radiography no longer is an experimental modality. It is a reliable and versatile technology that expands the diagnostic and image-sharing possibilities of radiography in dentistry. Optimization of brightness and contrast, task-specific image processing and sensor-independent archiving are important advantages that digital radiography has over conventional film-based imaging.

MeSH terms

  • General Practice, Dental
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / methods
  • Radiography, Dental, Digital* / classification
  • Radiography, Dental, Digital* / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Subtraction Technique
  • Technology, Dental
  • X-Ray Film