Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Technology Bites

I went to the dentist yesterday. I hadn't been since moving up here, and was overdue when I left Portland, so it was... very overdue to say the least.

My poor dental hygene habits aside, the clinic I switched to had jaw-dropping (groan-inducing pun intentional) technology compared to the clinic I was at in portland.

Biggest thing was that the X-rays are digital. Rather than shipping them off to a lab for development, they pop up on a PC screen immediately after snapping them. The downside is that you have to put a rather akward peripheral device in your mouth (gag), but the upsides are immediate results, and the fact that they were able to do all kinds of image processing filters/effects that let them better see results:

  • Brightness/contrast let them better spot decay
  • A density/color map let them spot areas that were tartar
  • An emboss filter let them isolate areas of large decay (they told me about this one - I didn't have such areas)

They also snapped a bunch of pics with a high res digital camera, stored them in the same database, and then when they spotted something on the xray, they were able to point it out to me on the digital pic and show me how to spot such things (in this case, a cavity I had).

Pretty high end stuff for a small clinic. Very cool.

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