Dental X-Rays

What are they?

Dental xrays or radiographs are an important component of a thorough dental examination. Xrays are a significant tool in determining the health and pathology of teeth, gums and bone that are not evident by a visual examination alone. They are used to detect dental disease as well as to follow the growth and development of teeth and jaws.

How often are they taken?

There are many factors that will decide the frequency and quantity of xrays. These include a patient’s age, current overall health, oral health, pregnancy, previous dental history, growth and development. Usually, at your initial examination, xrays are recommended or requested from a previous dentist to establish a baseline level of oral health.

Are dental xrays safe?

The potential harmful risks are minimal due to the low level of radiation exposure. We recommend xrays only when we feel that there will be a diagnostic benefit. This is why they are not necessarily taken at each dental visit. To minimize exposure, a lead apron is placed over you. A lead thyroid collar is also used whenever possible.

What are the types of dental xrays?

Small “bitewing and periapical” films are used for cavity detection and for locating any pathology surrounding each tooth. Panorex films are used to obtain an overall view of teeth, jaws, jaw joints and sinuses. A lateral cephalometric xray is a side view of the head, neck and jaws. These are typically used in evaluation prior to orthodontic treatment. Tomographs and cone beam xrays are used to obtain a 3D view of teeth and jaws. They are typically used in dental implant planning.

What is new in dental xray technology?

We have recently implemented a digital xray system which utilizes a digital sensor as opposed to xray film. This system effectively reduces radiation exposure by approximately 25-40%. Images can be viewed instantly on a computer screen and developing chemicals are no longer needed. This will help the environment.