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01 Oct 2003 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 30

Better than film quality now a digital reality


The goal of any practice when making the decision to install a digital imaging solution is to increase practice efficiency, lower the patient dose and improve quality.

Planmeca's R&D staff in conjunction with their semiconductor manufacturer, have done extensive work on the fundamentals behind the digital imaging components and have developed new patented technology which offers a major improvement in spatial resolution, now with consistent image quality better than film.

The patient image is generated in a CCD Sensor with a fluorescent material which captures the image and generates a visible light representation of the patient which in turn is captured by the CCD pixel elements.

While the CCD pixels are not very sensitive to direct radiation, they are affected and generate random noise which is included in the image. The more noise added to the image, the more the patient image is degraded.

That is the specification seen in the technical detail shown as 'Signal to Noise' (or S/N) - a ratio of these competing elements in any image. Noise adds mottle and spot artifact to the image, and reduces the clarity or spatial resolution of the image.

Because of the contrast and other enhancement adjustments available in software, any digital system can recover a good result even from a poorly exposed exam, however, that mottle and other artifacts are very difficult to remove and impact the final result.

With the release earlier this year of Planmeca's new generation of digital sensors, they incorporate a metallic deposits layer over the imaging elements to block much of the direct radiation reaching the CCD pixel elements. The result is significantly higher signal to noise ratio (ie: less noise), lower patient dose and extended sensor life. The improved S/N ratio means better spatial and contrast resolution - in other words a much clearer image. This new technology is being delivered in Planmeca's advanced DIMAX 3 digital OPG/Ceph Sensors, and in the DIXI V3 intra oral sensors.

To judge the DIMAX 3 advantage, note the difference in the phantom image (fig 1) which compares the new performance with the previous DIMAX 2 sensor which was typical of the best then available. Note the clarity of the newer image with less noise and artifact.

Planmeca's DIMAX 3 is standard on all new Planmeca PROLINE and PROMAX OPG/Ceph systems, and also for the optional advanced tomographic imaging programs. DIMAX 3 digital imaging is also available as an upgrade to all Planmeca OPG units built since 1987.

The DIXI 2 intra oral system is also available with this new technology with the recently released DIXI 2-V3 labeled version. The new Melbourne Dental Hospital is one of several hospitals to recently installed two new Planmeca DIMAX 3 digital systems, including a new Promax OPG.

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