Benefits of Dental EHRs and Digital Radiography

Digital radiography is an important diagnostic part of practicing dentistry. Used routinely, it offers many benefits to delivering quality patient care. Integrated into the EHR, it plays a critical role in improving a patient’s oral health. Digital radiography also assists dentists in educating patients about issues regarding their dental care.

“Now, there is a greater integration of the imaging with other modalities to provide better diagnosis and treatment planning. The sharing of images is making it easier for general dentists and specialists to communicate” (2012).

There are many choices dental practitioners can make regarding the type of digital radiography technology to use. Cost can be a barrier, but one that should be managed. The popularity and ubiquity of the technology is such that is it a necessary piece to dental care and treatment.

Digital radiography generally comes in two types: phosphor plates and sensors. Each has is pros and cons, but sensors tend to be easier to use. Prices can vary depending on the applications. And systems can be stand alone or integrated into the practice management and EHR software.

Another technology that is gaining in popularity is the cone beam volumetric tomography or CBVT.  It offers 3-D imaging and therefore improvement for diagnostics.

“The information gleaned from seeing “everything” in full 3-D can dramatically alter treatment plans by providing information that wasn’t previously available. These 3-D images allow for very accurate diagnostics for many of the most challenging issues in dentistry. CBVT assists in treatment planning for implant replacement, searching for missed canals, and issues with failing endodontics” (2012).

Lessons learned:

  • Digital radiography is important for more accurate dental diagnostics.
  • CBVT offers 3-D imaging which vastly improves diagnosis and treatment planning.
  • Equipment costs are a possible barrier, but can be purchased based on application need.
  • Most vendors can integrate digital radiography into EHR software.
  • Digital radiography allows for sharing and communicating with other dental professionals and specialists.

 

Jablow, M. DMD. (2012, Feb.). Digital radiography: analyzing the benefits. Compendium, 33 (2); 142-143.