Film vs. Digital Radiography—Have you looked at digital lately? (Chart)

For many dentists, transitioning to digital radiography after using film for most of their careers seems like a monumental change.  However, the benefits for your dental practice (as well as the patient) are clear.  Consider this chart:

Film Radiography vs. Digital Radiography

Film Digital
Requires ongoing film and chemistry costs Minimal recurring expenses after initial purchase
Chemicals must be disposed of properly No chemicals involved
Spaced needed for storage and darkroom More room for patient care
Image processing may take several minutes Images can be displayed instantly
Poor exposure may require retakes Images can be enhanced with software
Images cannot be adjusted or optimized Images can be colorized, magnified, and enhanced
Images lack patient id and time stamp and must be filed; could get lost Images can be immediately stored on computer’s hard drive
Lower initial purchase cost Higher initial cost; however, requires no consumables
Difficult and expensive to share Easy and inexpensive sharing

Now let me break it down from both a practice operational perspective and a patient perspective:

Dental Practice Benefits Main Patient Benefits
By switching to digital, you can clear out your film and chemical storage room and darkroom in order to have more productive space. Patient experience is improved by less waiting and often shorter visits.
Although film provides excellent resolution, waiting on the images to be processed can be time consuming and unproductive. What’s more, if you have to retake an image, you can lose even more time. Fortunately, digital radiography is much faster—rather than waiting for an image to be developed and scanned, you can see it instantly. Saves patients time during the initial and re-care exams—quick turnaround times and enhanced work flow can decrease the likelihood of patients having to return for future appointments. Lower dose than film images is important to patients as well as more quality time with doctor and staff.
Because digital images can be enhanced through digital imaging software, you can provide faster and better diagnoses. Improves patient communication through enhanced images and patients will feel more confident about their diagnosis, take ownership of their dental issues and be more likely to accept treatment.
While film radiography involves environmentally unsafe chemicals that need to be safely disposed of, digital radiography is much cleaner and greener. Going green contributes to a better environment for your patients and community alike.

Have you considered making the switch from film to digital radiography? Please weigh in and let me know what you think.

Author: Carestream Dental Blog Administrator

Carestream Dental provides industry-leading imaging, CAD/CAM, software and practice management solutions for dental and oral health professionals. With more than 100 years of industry experience, Carestream Dental products are used by seven out of 10 practitioners globally and deliver more precise diagnoses, improved workflows and superior patient care. For more information visit

4 thoughts

  1. I made the switch about 2 years back. It was just a start with carestream 5100. But i must thank u guys for. Its really a boon. ☺☺

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