- $69 for a dental checkup with cleaning, exam and panoramic x-ray ($302 value)<p>
Digital X-rays: Safely Radiant Images
Many dentists are taking advantage of a rather recent addition to the dental scene: digital x-rays. Learn about their benefits with Groupon's snapshot of this technology.
Dentists no longer need bulky film or long development times to produce a crystal-clear image of what's going on inside the murky human mouth. They also don't need to release as much radiation. Digital x-rays use a radiography machine similar to traditional x-rays, but instead of film, small electronic sensors placed in the mouth record the x-rays as they hit. This works because, like any kind of light, x-rays pass more readily through less-dense objects: they sail right through skin and flesh, turning traditional radiographic film black in these areas, but they are mostly halted by bone and almost completely stopped by metal, which is why fillings show up brightest of all.
These images are transmitted to a computer within seconds, allowing for immediate review, easy storage, and even emailing, if a patient transfers to another practice or wants to sign a message with an anatomically correct smiley face. Digital images also give dentists the ability to zoom in on certain areas and adjust brightness levels as they scan for potential problems. The clearer picture isn't the only way this new technology helps put patients at ease. Because the ultra-sensitive digital sensors are more efficient than clumsy old film at catching the x-rays' photons, they can produce a high-quality image with as much as 80% less radiation.