X-rays are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan. They are diagnostic, but they can also be preventative, by helping the dentist diagnose potential oral care issues in a patient’s mouth before they become a major problem.
We make use of a digital x-ray system one of the newest X-ray techniques. Standard X-ray film is replaced with a flat electronic pad or sensor. The image goes into a computer, where it can be viewed on a screen, stored or printed out. If used properly, digital X-rays use about half the radiation of conventional film.
X-rays are divided into two main categories, intraoral and extraoral. Intraoral is an X-ray that is taken inside the mouth. An extraoral X-ray is taken from the outside of the mouth.
Intraoral X-rays are the most common they give a high level of detail of the tooth, bone and supporting tissues of the mouth. These X-rays allow dentists to:
- Find cavities
- Look at the tooth roots
- Check the health of the bony area around the tooth
- Determine if periodontal disease is an oral care issue
- See the status of developing teeth
Extraoral X-rays are taken from outside the mouth. We use a digital Panoramic machine to take extraoral X-rays. A panoramic x-ray shows the entire mouth area – all the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws — on a single X-ray. This type of X-ray is useful for detecting the position of fully emerged as well as emerging teeth, can identify impacted teeth, and aid in the diagnosis of tumours. These can be considered the “big picture” X-rays. Extraoral X-rays are less detailed than intraoral X-rays. For this reason, they are usually not used for detecting cavities or flaws in individual teeth.