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The Art and Science of Viewing Digital X-Ray Images

Posted by Team DEXIS

By Fred H. Peck, DDS

Digital X-rayCosmetic dentistry is both an art and a science. The art entails being able to see the patients’ vision for their teeth, whether recapturing the smile of their youth, or helping them to obtain the smile they never had. Of course, I achieve these goals through science, with imaging being one of my most important diagnostic tools for formulating a treatment plan. DEXIS gives me consistently excellent image quality, together with low radiation and comfortable sensors. While I feel that I have chosen a brand that produces the best radiographs, I have improved my capabilities for viewing those images even more with quality monitors and lighting.

Recently I purchased a 3D imaging system and was encouraged to upgrade my monitors at that time. I purchased a NEC DICOM-compliant monitor made for viewing medical radiography. I also got similar monitors for my five operatories. I now also use those monitors for viewing my DEXIS 2D digital X-rays. In my practice, a full mouth series contains a set of 18 X-rays. Since DEXIS X-rays provide a consistent image over a broader exposure range, typically, I do not need to adjust the images’ contrast or grey scale. Since I implemented DEXIS, we have not taken a retake due to poor quality; it just doesn’t happen.

When preparing for large or small cosmetic or reconstruction cases, I want to see that the dentition will provide a good foundation for my proposed treatment. This is both for my clinical benefit, as well as the benefit of the patients, who are entrusting an often large financial investment into my treatment plan. When viewing DEXIS X-rays on a good monitor, I can see bone levels clearly and can also see apices of the teeth and crowns. It is not unusual for a patient to arrive at my office with X-rays that are not up to my standards. When they see their DEXIS X-rays on my monitor, they also see the crispness, and I can zoom in on a small area without pixilation to show a possible cause of their problem.

DEXIS has an image enhancement tool called ClearVu that further defines the image and reveals additional detail and depth. The DEXIS images on my upgraded monitors are already so clear; I don’t even need that tool to produce images that are significantly better than other brands of X-ray that I have seen.

Besides a good monitor, lighting is another aspect that helps me to appreciate my images more. When I read X-rays, I use natural daylight LED lights. I dim them a bit and turn off the fluorescent lights to view the X-rays. This eliminates the glare on the screen and allows me to get a better look at the X-rays. I’ve noticed that it’s pretty dark in a hospital where radiologists are reading X-rays. It’s dark for a reason. Lighting makes a big difference.  

Photography is my hobby, so images are very important to me whether in the office or at home. To get the most out of an already excellent imaging system like DEXIS, I recommend investing in high-end monitors and lighting that can give the clinician the opportunity to make a great imaging experience even better.

[1] Goo JM, Choi JY, Im JG, Lee HJ, Chung MJ, Han D, Park SH, Kim JH, Nam SH. PhD Effect of Monitor Luminance and Ambient Light on Observer Performance in Soft-Copy Reading of Digital Chest Radiographs. RSNA Radiology. 2004;232(3). Document here »

Topics: Digital X-ray Technology