Answer to Question #13190 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


I have been going to the same dentist for many years. They have very old x-ray machines. Up until now traditional film was used. Today at my appointment, I was told that my dentist now uses a digital x-ray machine and I will receive less radiation. I was confused. My dentist is still using the same old machines, but now are also using digital x rays, not film. How can this be?


The x rays are not digital; the image receptor is. The film is replaced with an electronic device capable of storing the x-ray image. Think about it this way—very old cameras used film to capture and store an image, but today's cameras capture and store the image electronically. The light entering the camera has not changed, but how the light is converted to a picture has.

Kent Lambert, CHP, FHPS

Answer posted on 31 October 2019. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.