Types of Dental X-rays

There are two main types of dental x-rays utilized for imaging: intraoral and extraoral. The most common are intraoral x-rays, which capture images of the inside of the mouth. Intraoral imaging helps to determine the health of the roots, cavities in the teeth, and evaluate the health of the bone and jaw. There are several types of intraoral x-rays, each capture different angles of the mouth:

Bitewing X-rays

Bitewing x-rays capture images of the upper and lower teeth in one distinct area of the mouth. It shows the crown of the tooth, to the level of supporting bone. This type of image is used to detect any decay in between the teeth or any deterioration of the bone.

Periapical X-rays

Periapical x-rays show the entire mouth, from the crown to where the root attaches into the jaw bone. These images are used to determine if there is any abnormal changes to the tooth root or surrounding bone.

Occlusal X-rays

Occlusal x-rays are a diagnostic tool used to track the development of the entire arch of the upper or lower mouth.

Extraoral imaging focuses on the bone and tissues of the skull and jaw. These images allow our specialists to view full images of the patient’s skull. Types of extraoral imaging include:

Panoramic X-rays

This type of imaging captures the entire mouth region in one single image. Panoramic x-rays are useful in detecting fully emerged, newly emerged, impacted teeth, and help diagnose tumors.

Dental Computed
Tomography (CT scanning)

This is a 3D image of the inside of the mouth to identify issues in the bone structure, such as tumors or fractures. They also help evaluate bone strength for the placement of dental implants and difficult extractions.

Cone Beam CT (CBCT)

Cone Beam CT scans provide high quality 3D images of the soft tissue, nerves, and bone. This type of imaging acts as a guide for dental implant placement, as well as can detect any complications in the gums, tooth root, and jaws.

Dental x-rays are typically performed during the initial exam. Depending on the issues or severity of the case, different types of images will be ordered in order to ensure a proper diagnosis. Combining both types of imaging, intraoral and extraoral, provides specialists with a comprehensive report on the current state of the patient’s mouth.

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FAQ

Dental x-rays are needed for several reasons. They are used to identify a number of dental issues related to teeth, gums. and/or bone. X-rays can provide early warnings of potential problems, such as small cavities, allowing for treatment before they worsen and become bigger problems.

There are several different x-rays, each with different benefits. Depending on the issues or severity of your case, different types of images may be required to ensure a proper diagnosis. Combining both types of images, intraoral and extraoral, provides specialists with a comprehensive report on the current state of the patient’s mouth.

Unlike traditional film x-rays, our digital method reduces radiation exposure by 90%, making digital radiography the fastest, safest, and most precise type of imaging available. Due to the very minimal levels of radiation being exposed, the risk of potentially harmful effects is very small. Dental x-ray techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation and several precautionary methods are taken to ensure your safety and comfort.

Typically, healthy adults require a full mouth series of dental x-rays to be taken once every three to five years. Because x-rays are a diagnostic tool, they may need to be taken more frequently if you experience dental pain or any other dental emergency.

Since the scope of radiation is so small for dental x-rays and the equipment is directed towards your teeth rather than your body, there is no risk to a baby from a dental x-ray.

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