North Carolina Patent of the Month – January 2021

Typical radiation imaging systems use front facing illumination. This design ensures that manufacturing the equipment remains simple. However, the design places some components in the path of light causing reflections. This limits the incoming light and reduces the signal. To compensate, higher radiation doses are required to achieve an ideal image. X-ray imaging in other fields is capable of using lower doses of radiation, Unfortunately the designs for those machines are too large for intraoral imaging. Real Time Imaging Technologies, LLC developed a low-dose x-ray imaging system designed for dental imaging to reduce this radiation exposure.

Their design follows the general steps of sending a beam from an emitter, through a patient examination area and settling at the detector.  Once in the detector, the beam is transformed first into light. A back facing illumination strategy is used to transform this light into electrical signals representing the image captured. This image is transported to a monitor for viewing by the dentist. This back facing illumination reduces the reflection experienced with front facing illuminators which means a smaller dose of x-ray is needed initially. The emitter is small enough for intraoral use, and ergonomic enough for extraoral use. This design alteration produces clearer imaging with less radiation. Real Time Imaging Technologies believes this low-dose x-ray imaging device will benefit a variety of medical fields in addition to dentistry.

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