Dental radiography is an essential component in the delivery of high quality dental care for dogs and cats. This seminar will focus on the value of taking dental radiographs, how to take digital dental radiographs, special features available with digital dental radiographic units, advantages and disadvantages of digital dental radiography, indications for taking dental radiographs, positioning for optimal dental radiographs, critiquing dental radiographs and the importance of recognizing dental radiographic lesions.
The diagnostic value of full mouth dental radiography in dogs and cats has been previously reported.1,2 It was found that the diagnostic yield of full mouth radiographs in feline and canine patients is high, and routine full mouth radiography is justified. These studies found that if disease existed, radiographs were clinically useful in 86.1% of the cases in the study (Table 1 & 2).1-3
Value Of Radiographs When No Clinical Findings Present
How to Take Digital Dental Radiographs and Special Features Available
There are two methods of acquiring digital dental radiographs, either DR (Digital Radiography) or CR (Computer Radiography). DR images are acquired by placing a sensor into the mouth in the same position as a film and exposing the sensor with a greatly reduced dose of radiation. The image is transferred within seconds for viewing on a computer. These images are then electronically stored and manipulated as needed for radiographic evaluation of a wide variety of dental lesions. CR images are an indirect way of acquiring digital dental radiographs. With this technology a reusable Phosphor Storage Plate (PSP) is exposed to x-rays and the PSP is then processed and converted to a digital image on a computer. The Scan X®, a digital radiography system, produces a digital image by scanning PSPs of various sizes (0,2,3 and 4) which have been exposed to x-rays. The Scan X® allows computer storage, processing, retrieval and display of the computed radiographic images utilizing a user supplied software package. The Scan X® also has an in-line plate eraser function that removes the latest image from the plate immediately after scanning providing an efficient one-step scanning and erasing process leaving the PSP ready for the collecting the next radiographic image.
Value Of Radiographs When Clinical Findings Present
Digital dental radiographs can be manipulated for better visualization. The mouse can be used to adjust the contrast and brightness, a particular area of a tooth can be highlighted, magnified, labeled, flipped, rotated, measured or explanatory notes can be added .
The advantages and disadvantages of digital dental radiography have been previously reported.
Advantages of Digital Dental Radiography
• There is a 50-90% reduction in radiation needed to expose an image
• DR images are displayed on the computer within seconds eliminating processing chemicals and reducing anesthetic time
• CR images are displayed after being inserted in the The Scan X® within approximately 30 seconds, CR images come in various sizes (#0, 2, 3 & 4) providing flexibility in imaging
• Phosphor Storage Plates (PSP) are very thin and flexible providing easy placement in confined spaces
• Errors in positioning and exposure can be corrected immediately, without waiting for film processing
• Computer storage makes retrieval and storage of the image easier than for conventional film and allows easy electronic transfer of radiographs to the patient file, consultant, or referring veterinarian
• Image can be adjusted for better visualization; the image can be enlarged, rotated, the contrast and brightness can be changed, and the image can be inverted or rotated
• Provides extremely efficient progress evaluation during endodontic and oral surgery procedures