Work flow with digital intraoral radiography: a systematic review

Acta Odontol Scand. 2010 Mar;68(2):106-14. doi: 10.3109/00016350903514426.


Objective: This systematic review evaluates the six most frequently emphasized advantages of working with digital radiography: less working time, lower radiation dose to the patient, fewer retakes and errors, wider dynamic range, easier access to patient information and easier image storage and communication. Moreover, some clinical aspects and possible disadvantages of digital imaging that were not foreseen at the beginning of the digital era, such as patient discomfort, damage to the receptor, degradation of the image, cross-contamination and viewing conditions, were assessed.

Material and methods: The literature search used the PubMed database with no limits and was performed during June to August 2009. Search strategies are described in the text for each of the mentioned tasks. A hand search of task-specific journals supplemented the search strategies.

Results: Time seems to be saved when switching from film to digital imaging in dental practice, a dose reduction may not be obtained, retakes and errors may be increased, the dynamic range may be wider with photostimulable storage phosphor (PSP) plates but not with sensors, the effect on patient information has not been well studied and storage and communication create new challenges with regard to handling large files and image compression. In addition, patient discomfort seems to be pronounced with sensors compared with PSP plates and film, the PSP plate may be scratched in clinical use and a two-layer barrier seems to be needed to prevent contamination of the receptor. The type of monitor may not be of major concern if the image is viewed in a room with subdued light.

Conclusions: Not all of the predicted advantages with digital compared to film-based radiography hold true in daily clinical work. Of particular interest is the relationship between number of images, retakes and the dose given to the patient.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information
  • Artifacts
  • Communication
  • Data Compression
  • Dentist-Patient Relations
  • Equipment Contamination
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiography, Dental, Digital* / instrumentation
  • Time Factors
  • Workflow*