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Due to the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic and current restrictions imposed by Governor Inslee and the State of Washington Department of Health, our office will be temporarily closed for all but emergency dental care. This closure is expected to last until May 18th, at which time we expect to resume regular business hours and all patient care. If you are experiencing a dental emergency requiring immediate attention, you may contact Dr. Kay at (206) 915-8020. Thank you for your support and understanding during this challenging time.

Digital Radiography



digital xrays at Kevin Kay DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Renton, WA During the past few decades, dental technology has improved dramatically. At Kevin Kay DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, digital x-rays are now giving patients a more time-saving, convenient, and safer option for dental imaging.

Differences Between Traditional and Digital X-rays


The physical process of digital radiography is very similar to dental x-rays. For example, for an intraoral x-ray, we will insert a sensor into your mouth to capture images of your teeth. However, this is where the similarities end.

Digital radiographs involve wired or wireless sensors or phosphor plate sensors instead of the traditional x-ray film. The sensors are electronic and connect to a computer where digital images of your mouth can be displayed via multiple shades of grey. Due to the advanced pixel technology in digital radiographs, you can view images in high contrast, and hence, problem areas in the mouth become easier to identify.

Types of Digital Dental Radiographs


Digital radiographs can be intraoral (taken inside the mouth) or extraoral (taken outside the mouth). Some common types are:
•  Bitewing X-rays: These intraoral x-rays take images while the patient is biting down on the sensor. They are used to detect tooth decay and low bone density due to periodontal disease.
•  Periapical X-rays: Periapical x-rays show the tooth from the crown to where its root is secured in the jaw. This is used to detect the health of the tooth root and the supporting bone structure and can help in treating advanced periodontitis and abscess.
•  Multi-Slice Computed Tomography: This radiograph displays a particular “slice” of the mouth while blurring all the other areas. This radiograph is useful for diagnosing structures that are hard to see clearly.
•  Cephalometric Projections: These are used to examine the teeth with respect to the patient’s jaw and are useful in straightening and aligning teeth.
•  Sialography: This involves injecting a dye into the salivary gland that shows up in the x-ray imaging and highlights salivary gland problems like blockage, autoimmune diseases that cause dry mouth, and Sjogren syndrome.
•  Cone Beam Computerized Tomography: This is used to identify facial issues like fractures and tumors and is useful in Dental Implant treatments and surgical tooth extractions.

Benefits of Digital Dental Radiographs


Digital radiographs have several benefits over traditional x-rays:
•  Less Radiation Exposure: Digital radiographs expose patients to up to 90 percent less radiation than traditional x-rays. Although traditional x-rays are quite safe, digital x-rays are even more so for people who are concerned about radiation dangers.
•  Shorter Visits: Traditional x-rays require patients to wait for several minutes as the x-ray films are being developed. Digital radiographs, however, develop the image instantly and project it digitally on a computer screen.
•  Higher Resolution: Traditional x-rays only come in standard sizes so small issues sometimes are difficult to diagnose. In contrast, digital x-rays can be magnified, and their color, brightness, and contrast adjusted so that it becomes easier to see small cavities and other problem areas.
•  Transfer of Records: Digital radiographs can be copied and multiplied and can be emailed or digitally delivered to the patient or other dentists. It also makes them easier to store since a separate physical space is not required to hold the x-ray films. Soon, digital radiographs may eliminate the need to mail dental records and x-rays altogether.
•  Eco-friendly: Digital radiographs do not require the use of a darkroom and harmful chemicals. Therefore, they have less impact on the environment than traditional x-rays.

If you want to explore the benefits of digital radiographs, contact us at (425) 738-8476 to schedule an appointment.