Digital radiography (digital x-ray) is the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. 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 hygienist detect problems more easily. Digital x-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
Dental x-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information 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:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Bone loss
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Decay between the teeth
- Developmental abnormalities
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage may save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs.
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.
This type of x-ray is a screening radiograph of all teeth and surrounding bone. Also, this type of x-ray is used to evaluate healing of dental implants, bone grafts, and evaluation of pathological lesions in the bone.
CBCT scans are used with all dental implant and sinus lift surgeries. All CBCT scans are taken in our office. The speed of taking the scan limits patient exposure by an estimate of 60-70% compared to conventional CBCT scans, which allows for safer examinations.