Let’s face it. Dentists need radiographs. With 90% of the treatments being blind procedures, radiographs coupled with great tactile perception aid the dentist in performing high-quality dental treatment to patients.
It’s been over 122 years since X-rays were invented by W.H.Roentgen. 121 years since Otto Walkhoff identified the use of this form of electromagnetic radiation in the dentistry. He took the first dental X-ray exposing himself to radiation for 25 minutes. Oops! That would be considered felony today, wouldn’t it? Over a century later, we have various advancements in the field of dental imaging. Yet, we still do have a good amount of dental professionals who stick to the good old X-ray films.
Is it alright to still follow this technique of imaging or should dentists move towards better forms of radiographic techniques in dentistry? What is the value that you will gain from shifting to digital forms of radiography? Let’s answer these questions that might have been lingering in your mind.
Introduction of Digital Radiography/RVG in Dentistry
Digital radiography in dentistry was introduced by the French dentist, Dr. Francis Moyen in the year 1987. The dentist from Toulouse, patented this new technology and called it RadioVisioGraphy (RVG) and developed a prototype. This first sensor was based on the principle of Charged Couple Device (CCD). However, the first version was not computer linked, and the images could be seen on a video screen but could not be saved on a computer. In 1992, Gendex introduced Visualix, the world’s first computer linked digital radiography system. This made storage of images, conversion into various formats and also post-processing possible.
Now that we know how RVGs came into being, let’s try to understand why buying an RVG in dentistry is important and how it can optimize your dental practice!
Here’s why you need to buy an RVG
We know that exposure to X-rays can cause a multitude of harmful effects to the body. The biological effects of radiation, deterministic (killing a large number of cells) and stochastic (sub-lethal damage leading to mutation), range from simple mucositis to more dangerous conditions such as osteoradionecrosis and carcinogenesis. Although such outcomes stem from radiation therapy, it is important to reduce the amount of radiation that the patient, dentist and dental assistant are subjected to.
The ALARA principle is one of the most important guidelines laid out by the NCRP, USA in 2003. By employing digital radiography, dentists can reduce up to 80% of the exposure that the patient is subjected to while using conventional X-ray films. It is the duty of the dentist to ensure patient safety. If an RVG isn’t a viable option the dentist should opt to switch to higher speed films. F-Speed dental X-ray films offer 20% and 60% reduction in radiation exposure when switching from E-Speed and D-Speed films respectively.
As you grow in your dental practice, you start realizing that time is the most valuable asset that you are running short of. Having patients waiting for long periods of time has a negative effect. It is important to reduce the time taken in various tasks, an example being processing your X-ray films. By using the advancements in technology to aid you in these tasks can greatly increase your efficiency. That is the reason RVG in dentistry is very important, it will help you in optimizing your processes.
Expose → Develop → Rinse → Fix → Rinse → Dry → Done
Expose → Done
Post Processing Capability
Imagine exposing the patient and yourself to a lot of unnecessary radiation and spending the time to process the X-ray film only to find that there is an angulation error or a processing error or both. The RVG cannot help you in correcting angulation errors, but it’s safe to say that you can say goodbye to processing errors. To come to think of it, it might not even be your fault. It is a good practice to have a thermometer to gauge the temperature of the processing solutions, however, any small discrepancy in time, concentration or temperature can result in errors in processing.
With an RVG, you have an array of post-processing options. Need to increase contrast to figure out if the palatal root of 16 or 26 is in contact with the sinus floor to plan endodontic therapy or extraction? A few tweaks in your imaging software and you’ve got it.
Analog To Digital
The world is moving from analog to digital and there’s no denying that fact. One major advantage of the digital world is the ability to store and share information at a fraction of the cost incurred for physical copies. Also, you don’t lose this information if it is uploaded to your cloud storage.
How does this help you? Here’s how:
- Multiple appointment treatments, long-term observation of prognosis and efficacy of treatment is made much easier when having a digital version of the radiograph.
- If your patient is moving to another city, state or country, you can aid the new dentist to get a better idea of the dental history.
- In case you have a patient who wants to file a malicious lawsuit against you, having digital copies of the radiograph can prove to be valuable in addition to the other forms of evidence.
Superior Grey Scale
Most of the diagnostic differences might not be conspicuous to the human eye. A great level of contrast allows easier demarcation of the type of tissues that are visible on the radiograph. Film based imaging offers 16 to 25 shades of grey. Digital radiographs have a superior grey-scale resolution of 256 shades of grey and more which can greatly aid in identifying pathological changes.
Patients generally do not have a great idea about the operation of dental clinics. However, there is a stark difference between conventional films and digital radiography that is perceptible to patients. Patients are often amazed at the speed at which the image appears on the computer screen. Patient education becomes easier and intuitive when the patient can see that the image can be processed, magnified and focused. Also, it gives them self-affirmation that a dentist using better technology might be able to make a better diagnosis.
Forget The Dark Room
An ideal darkroom should be at least 4×5 feet in dimensions, be lightproof, have a safelight that has a red GBX-2 filter, processing tanks that have temperature maintained solutions, a thermometer, a timer to keep track of the processing times and drying racks. And then comes maintenance of the solutions and regular replenishment. That is quite a lot of maintenance and regular monitoring that has to be done in order to maintain a workable darkroom.
We have seen numerous life-enhancing changes in the world which have been made possible by the use of technology. The birth of email made it possible to transfer a large amount of information within seconds which was not possible using letters. Digital photography opened up a world of possibilities in the realm of photography which was out of reach for the analog world. Similarly, the shift from X-ray films to digital radiography must happen to be able to embrace all the benefits imaging with minimal harm to the patient, assistant and the clinician.
Buying an RVG in dentistry might be a heavy initial investment, but the benefits that can be gained over time are invaluable. But to help dentists forgo that high initial investment, PinkBlue.in has various EMI options using Credit & Debit card to buy dental equipment. No credit card? No problem. PinkBlue offers Cardless EMI for the first time in India.
Reach out to us for personalized expert guidance on RVG along with the best prices and payment options