X-ray imaging allows your dentist to see detailed images of your teeth, jaw bone, and dental structures. Dental x-rays are often included in periodic dental examinations, as they allow your dentist to detect potential problems early on. Where previous dental procedures have been performed, x-rays allow your dentist a better understanding of the health of your teeth.
X-Ray radiation is harmful and x-rays procedures should be kept to a minimum.
Traditional x-rays use x-ray radiation and a detection plate / film. These must then be developed before they can be viewed. Digital radiographs are one of the newest x-ray techniques and require a flat electronic pad / sensor to detect the x-ray radiation, and directly feed the image into a computer, just like a digital photo. Digital x-rays taken at different times can be used to simply identify small changes occurring over time. Digital x-rays typically use a smaller amount of radiation compared to traditional type.
Bitewing x-rays are taken for accurate assessment and diagnosis of dental decay between the teeth. In children and adolescents, they also show development of adult teeth. When taken vertically, these x-rays show bone volume and density, for the evaluation of gum disease or dental infection.
Periapical x-rays show only one or two teeth, and are useful to assess localized dental problems. These x-rays are used to assess dental problems below the gum line or in the jaw, such as impacted teeth. They are also used to check for cysts, tumors, and bone changes.
Occlusal x-rays produce a large image, and are useful to highlight tooth development in children. They can show the presence of extra teeth, teeth that have not yet broken through the gums, jaw fractures, cleft palates, and abnormal growths. They can also be useful to detect the presence of foreign object in the mouth.
Panoramic x-rays show the entire mouth on a single image. These x-rays are taken to evaluate / identify problems such as bone abnormalities, impacted teeth, infections, and fractures etc. Panoramic x-rays require a special machine and often carry a high cost due to this specialized equipment.
These are a type of x-ray which takes an image of entire side of the head. They are used by dentists and orthodontists to look at the teeth in relation to the jaw and the person's profile. Orthodontists can use it to evaluate and to determine the best type of orthodontic treatment for patients.
These provide three-dimensional images of the teeth, nerve paths and bones in a single scan. This is not a routine scan and exposes the patient to a much higher radiation exposure than a standard x-ray. The CT scan is particularly useful when planning major dental surgery.