Digital radiographic images in dental practice
Dental therapy diagnostics and planning largely rely on technological advances and the development of medical equipment. The aim of perfecting medical equipment in radiographic diagnostics is showing the so called anatomical reality, i.e. achieving an image of the anatomical structure that is as accurate as possible. Radiographic images of the teeth and jaws are the most frequent diagnostic tool that helps dentists of all branches and specialties identify anatomical and pathological occurrences, as well as measure the sizes of the structures of the craniofacial system and determining their form.
Advantages of digital images
Radiographic images contain information and they can be made by means of conventional analogue procedures, or by means of more advanced digital procedures. Digital images simplify handling, they can be faithfully rendered on computer screens and later used on the computer for all necessary procedures. It is possible to make a software analysis of bone density, zoom in on individual details, change contrast and color desired structures. Digital storing is made easier by the fact that a large number of images can be stored on hard disks or portable media and sent online. But most importantly, biologically speaking, digital imaging technology has enabled a 30-98% decrease in radiation doses delivered to the patient.
Means of storing information
During digital imaging, CCD sensors turn the electromagnetic energy of x-ray beams into an electric impulse. Electric impulses have different photosensory values and a digitalization board turns them into pixels, which are assembled into horizontal raster lines. The raster lines make up a pixel matrix called a map. Each pixel, i.e. each picture unit, has its dimension and intensity, which determines the surface area and degree on the grey-scale representing tissue structure on the radiographic image.
Application of digital images
The advantage of digital radiography is seen in the fact that, by applying different algorithms, a digital image can be enlarged, sharpened, made more grainy, made less intense (“smoothed out”) and its specific parts can be isolated. However, the quantity of stored information does not increase when applying the processing procedures. This is why the image must be thoroughly prepared in a radiographic laboratory by means of specialized software which will make it possible to additionally process the image by increasing its total information count (its pixel diversity) before storing.