As a dental assistant, you may encounter both digital and conventional (film) radiography in your career. While film radiography has benefits, like thinner sensors for better client comfort and resistance to image alteration and fraud, the alternative is slowly becoming more common. Digital radiography sends imaging data directly to a computer with no steps in between, saving time and resources.
If you are going to be helping people take care of their teeth and oral health, it’s important to understand the benefits of digital radiography. Read on to learn why this technology is important and a must-know for your career.
An Intra-Oral Dental Assistant Will Know the Benefits of Electronic Medical Records
Electronic Medical Records, or EMRs, are an efficient, convenient and cost-effective way to store and share data on clients. Dental offices are finding these records more and more useful, so it’s likely that when you enter the field as a dental assistant, you will encounter them. Using traditional filing methods takes up a lot of space and isn’t as reliable or retrievable as electronically stored information.
With digital radiography, these electronic files can be instantly stored. This is appealing as electronic health records become more common in Canada, as a way to provide comprehensive client information.
Use Digital Images to Improve Communication
Each dental office will make different choices with budget, equipment, and technology. This is why in intra-oral dental assistant training you will learn about both digital and conventional radiography, to be able to adapt. If you are lucky enough to be in an office equipped for digital radiography, an added benefit is the ease with which the dentist you work with can present information to clients.
With digital radiography, images can be manipulated to enhance contrast and detail, providing a better look at what’s going on in a client’s mouth. As a dental assistant, you may see more clients agree to much-needed procedures that will help them in the long run, because they are better able to see and understand the images.
These images can also be passed on to specialists with no extra cost, as opposed to sending the physical images to them. These are reasons why you may be required to work with digital radiography, as a dentist may prefer it to more traditional technology.
Digital Radiography Takes Better Care of Your Clients and the Earth
As a student in dental assistant school, you are likely the type of person who is concerned with taking care of others and ensuring their safety. When working with radiation, the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) concept says that practitioners should expose people to as little radiation as possible. Digital radiography uses digital sensors and PSP plates, which are more sensitive and require over 50% less radiation than film and up to 90% less in some cases. With the lowered exposure, clients are safer.
In addition, digitizing the process takes away harmful environmental effects from chemical processing and hazardous wastes. Records are kept paperless and faxing and mailing documents to specialists becomes obsolete. In this way, not only does digital radiography take better care of people, but it also takes better care of the planet too.
Are you interested in training to be an intra-oral dental assistant?
Contact the Canadian Academy of Dental Health and Community Sciences for more information.