If you’ve ever visited the dentist, chances are that you have had x-rays taken at one time or another. Dental x-rays are vital in order for your dentist to see oral health issues that aren’t apparent with a simple visual exam. X-rays can help your dentist diagnose everything from tooth decay to bone loss and more. But today’s dental x-rays are not what they used to be. In fact, there is a variety of new dental technology being used by dentists to help accurately diagnose and treat oral health issues.
- Digital x-rays: Most of us are familiar with digital photography. So it should come as no surprise that digital technology now also extends to the world of x-rays. Although old-fashioned film x-rays are still used, more and more dentists are utilizing digital technology instead. Digital x-rays expose patients to much less radiation that film x-rays; the images are typically clearer and are available for review immediately; and because digital files are stored on a computer, they’re much more convenient to access and make comparisons with in future visits.
- Intraoral x-rays: Another modern diagnostic tool that is used by many dentists is the intraoral camera. This imaging tool allows the dentist to view the entire interior of a patient’s mouth and view those images in real time on a computer screen. The intraoral camera provides views that no other imaging tool can match. There are three types of intraoral x-rays available: 1) A periapical x-ray, which captures an image of an entire tooth, from the visible tip down to the root of the tooth in the patient’s jaw. This type of image helps the dentist to diagnose abnormal growths or other problems that exist within the bone structure or the root of the tooth. 2) A bitewing x-ray, which focuses on the enamel layer of teeth. This type of image is helpful in detecting gum disease and tooth decay that might otherwise be missed. 3) An occlusal x-ray is used to give the dentist a broader, overall view of the placement of teeth. This is especially helpful in diagnosing issues involved with the alignment of the teeth.
- CEPH x-rays: This type of x-ray produces a panoramic image of the patient’s bone structure of the entire neck and head area, and is particularly useful in diagnosing problems with the jaw, neck and head.
The advances made in dental technology over the past several years are truly amazing. Thanks to these new x-ray methods, dentists are able to diagnose and treat a variety of oral issues much more effectively than ever before. That’s technology we can all benefit from!