What are digital x-rays?
Digital x-rays, also known as radiographs, are the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. They can be used in diagnosing issues and can also be preventative in finding problems before they affect the tooth. An x-ray is an energy that is passed through soft tissue and cannot pass through dense tissue, as the dense tissue absorbs the energy. Since bones and teeth are dense, they absorb the x-rays. Gums and cheeks are soft and allow x-rays to pass through them. Digital x-rays use 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 by Dr. Huang to help detect where the issues are if there are any.
“This is a fantastic, clean and professional facility. The dentist does not try to force sell anything. Very pleased. It is really a breath of fresh air to be able to get work done without getting pressured. He is very gentle and he got rid of an issue that I had tried to get another dentist to do years ago and they wanted to do other stuff ‘first’. I can’t say enough good things about this provider. Highly recommend, and I hate dentists.” 🙂Ginger B.
Are they necessary? What can they show the dentist?
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. There are two types of dental x-rays. Intraoral x-rays are taken from inside the mouth, while extraoral x-rays are taken outside of the mouth. Intraoral x-rays are the most commonly used and can help dentists with the following:
- Check the health of your roots of your teeth.
- Check for bone loss.
- Identify tumors. Both cancerous and non-cancerous.
- Find cavities.
- Determine if specific cases of periodontitis are caused by poor oral health and hygiene.
- Look at teeth that are still growing and coming in and check the development.
- Diagnose gum disease.
- See certain infections.
- Look for anything else that may be abnormal and find any potential problems.
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage may save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and most of all, your teeth!
Are there different types of dental x-rays?
Yes. The type of x-ray you will be ordered will be dependent on what exactly Dr. Huang is looking for. The most commonly used x-rays are:
- Periapical – this gives Dr. Huang the ability to be able to look at the entire tooth. These images show the tooth from the crown of it all the way down to the bone that helps support the tooth.
- Bitewing – these are used to see the upper and lower posterior teeth (premolars and molars). This shows how the teeth come together when you bite and helps see if there is any decay between those back teeth.
- Panoramic – This view shows the teeth, nasal area, sinuses, jaws, and joints of the jaw. These are usually taken when someone needs implants or orthodontic work.
- Occlusal – These show the floor (bottom) of the mouth to show the bites of your upper and lower jaw. These are especially common in showing the development of children’s teeth. It will help Dr. Huang distinguish which teeth are baby (primary) and adult (permanent) teeth.
Are dental x-rays safe?
Digital x-rays are much safer than x-rays ever have been. Digital x-rays expose the patient to 90% less radiation than normal x-rays. Digital sensors capture images easier than x-ray film, so digital x-rays are taken significantly quicker, thus reducing the time exposed to radiation. Digital x-rays also allow for dentists to be able to focus on a certain area for the x-ray, instead of using a large broad area. A lead body apron is also worn during x-rays to eliminate the chance of stray radiation.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient and their individual dental needs. Dr. Huang will recommend the necessary x-rays for you based on the review of your medical and dental history. Factors that can determine how often a patient might need dental x-rays are: signs and symptoms, your age, and your risk for disease. Often when seeing a new dental provider, a new set of full mouth x-rays will be taken. If x-rays were recently taken, they can sometimes be requested from your previous dental provider.
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