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. The image can be instantly viewed and enlarged, helping the dentist and dental hygienist detect problems more efficiently. Digital x-rays reduce radiation by 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
X-rays are essential tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to detect hidden dental abnormalities safely and accurately and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas can 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 can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and save your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
Not only are digital x-rays safe for the patient, but they are also fast and comfortable to take, which reduces your time in the dental office. Also, because we capture the digital image electronically, there is no need to develop the x-rays, thus eliminating the disposal of waste and chemicals into the environment.
Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are needed, and using lead apron shields to protect the body.
How often should my dentist take dental x-rays?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease.
We recommend a full-mouth series of dental x-rays for new patients. A full mouth series is usually good for three to five years. We take bitewing x-rays at recall (check-up) visits and recommend them once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.