Dental x-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. This technique uses an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged helping the dentist and dental hygienists detect problems more accurately.
What Are Dental X-Rays Used For?
Dentists and dental hygienists use digital x-rays to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected. Dental X-Rays may reveal:
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage may save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. Digital x-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays. Not only are digital x-rays better for the health and safety of the patient, but they are also faster and more comfortable to take, which reduces your time in the dental office. Also, since the digital image is captured electronically, there is no need to develop the x-rays, thus eliminating the disposal of harmful waste and chemicals into the environment.
Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary and using lead apron shields to protect the body.
CBCT (Cone Bean Computed Tomography) scans are at the cutting edge of dental imagining technology. These specialized x-rays use smaller and more powerful equipment to generate highly detailed, three-dimensional computer images that provide more information than traditional x-rays. The images are rendered in real-time, allowing the dentist to view a more accurate picture of your teeth without any of the delays and inaccuracies associated with conventional radiography.
Dental x-rays depend on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and the risk of disease.
A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.