What Are Digital X-Rays?
Digital x-rays or radiographs are very important. They allow the dentists at New Smiles Dental to see things about your oral health that cannot be seen by the naked eye. These items include cysts (sacks of fluid that form on the roots of teeth), cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, the location of teeth that have yet to grow in all the way, and invisible decay that occurs between teeth,
How Do Digital X-Rays Help?
By using an x-ray to diagnose these problems, we can help save you money in the long run from surgeries or other treatments that might become necessary had we not discovered the problem. In some cases, where dental x-rays show the location of tumorous growths, x-rays can be responsible for saving your life.
Digital X-Ray Benefits
Digital x-rays have many advantages when compared with old-fashioned film-based machines, including:
- Reduced radiation exposure: up to 90% less than traditional systems
- Enhanced ability to refine image quality
- Instant viewing: no waiting for films to develop
- Environmentally friendly: no toxic chemicals
Best of all, it’s easy for you to see what our dentists see. We have computer screens next to the dental chairs for easy viewing. This helps you understand your needs and make an informed choice about any treatment.
What Can Dental X-Rays Help Show?
Our staff obtains valuable information from diagnostic x-rays, such as the condition of the inside of your teeth. X-rays can also observe the bone tissue beneath the gums and the length of teeth roots. The quality imaging provided by digital x-rays enables us to investigate the potential reason for dental symptoms such as sensitivity or pain.
At New Smiles Dental, we commonly use X-rays to evaluate the presence or extent of tooth decay. The Academy of General Dentistry also states that x-rays are helpful in investigating the presence of abscesses, cysts, or other growths. This type of imaging is also valuable for assessing the progression of bone loss related to periodontal disease. Because x-rays capture structures that cannot be seen with the naked eye, these images may reveal impacted wisdom teeth and the root structure of those teeth, which can guide the extraction procedure.
Types of Dental X-Rays
The most common forms of dental x-rays include bitewing, panoramic, and periapical views. During your routine check-up appointments, our staff will take two to four bitewing x-rays. These x-rays help us to observe the crown area of teeth. Panoramic x-rays, which observes the entire oral cavity in an image taken from the outside of the mouth, shows the sinus, teeth, and jawbone. As such, this type of x-ray can identify bone irregularities, tumors and cysts, impacted teeth, and other disorders. A periapical x-ray may be taken to observe bone tissue and/or the roots of a tooth or teeth. Less commonly performed x-rays include occlusal films which may be used to evaluate the development of a child’s teeth, or cephalometric x-rays, taken prior to orthodontic treatment.
How Often Should X-Rays Be Taken?
Patients typically receive x-rays annually. However, the x-ray schedule may change depending on need. New patients may be advised to have full x-rays or a panoramic x-ray taken at their first appointment in order to set a baseline for their patient record.
“I love everything about New Smiles! The people are friendly, the quality is perfection, and they take great care of my teeth and me! They really care about their patients in many ways.” – Marie L.
The Dental X-Ray Process
We start off your dental appointment by taking X-rays. Patients sit comfortably in a chair, and the dental technician will apply a weighted bib. This will cover the front of your torso from the neck down. Then, we will insert a small film into your mouth at the area which x-rays are taken. The digital armpiece that captures the x-ray is situated outside of the mouth. Next, the technician will step just outside of the room while the image is captured. This step will be repeated as necessary to obtain the quality and number of images desired to fully evaluate teeth and other tissue.
Risks Associated with Digital X-Rays
X-rays work by emitting a small amount of radiation into the body. However, the measure of radiation that exists in dental x-rays is similar to the exposure that the average person encounters around digital devices and home appliances. Therefore, patients are not at a great risk from radiation exposure during the x-rays.