UPTOWN/GALLERIA: 346-980-4770 | MIDTOWN: 281-397-3832
UPTOWN/GALLERIA: 346-980-4770
MIDTOWN: 281-397-3832

Digital X-Rays

Digital X-rays

Radiographs, also known as x-ray images, are an essential diagnostic tool for all types of dental procedures, including routine dental checkups.

Digital X-rays

Radiographs, also known as x-ray images, are an essential diagnostic tool for all types of dental procedures. Taking x-rays is an important adjunct during a comprehensive exam because they help dentists visualize the inner layers of the teeth and bone that are not visible to the naked eye. X-rays play an important role in early and accurate diagnosis for tooth decay and are therefore essential for creating an ideal treatment plan for each patient.

What are Digital X-rays?

In the past, X-ray images were recorded by directing a beam of x-rays toward the teeth and other oral structures like gums and the jaw bones. The relative absorbance of these x-rays is then recorded by x-ray sensitive films. This process was not only time-consuming, but the results also varied and dependent on the operator’s skill and technique. Advancements in dentistry led to the birth of digital x-rays which are much more efficient and effective in capturing radiographs. Instead of using a radiographic film, digital x-rays use a very small digital x-ray sensor which is placed inside the oral cavity. The image recorded from the digital sensors is then immediately displayed on the screen.

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What are the Uses of Digital Dental X-rays?

Digital x-rays provide a much better image quality than the conventional film, which is why most dentists have chosen to include digital x-rays as part of their diagnostic tools in the office. Below is a detailed list of the uses of digital x-rays:

  • Diagnosing Teeth Cavities – While some teeth cavities, also known as caries, are visible during a clinical exam, most caries lesions develop inside deeper areas of the enamel or in between the teeth which are not visible to the naked eye. In these cases, digital x-rays are very useful for diagnosing teeth cavities. Tooth decay appear as shadows or dark areas inside the tooth on x-rays, which implies a loss of tooth structure due to loss of minerals from the decay.
  • Visualize the Status of Developing Teeth – Digital x-ray images provide the dentist a clear view of the status of the eruption of the permanent teeth. They also provide information regarding which teeth have become impacted and are unable to erupt into normal occlusion. These are useful information to properly refer patients out to orthodontics to correct malocclusion at an early stage.
  • Diagnosing Periodontal Problems – Periodontal infections are characterized by the loss of bone tissue around the teeth. The current level of the bone surrounding the teeth can be easily visualized on a digital x-ray. The bone and teeth appear lighter while the soft tissues tend to appear darker on an x-ray image.
  • Diagnosing Dental Infections – The extent and severity of an infection around the roots of the teeth, known as a periapical infection, can be diagnosed with the help of a digital x-ray. In addition, digital x-ray images are also used during a root canal treatment procedure for evaluating and estimating the length and number of roots of a tooth. X-rays are also used for the diagnosis of swelling or cysts around the teeth.
  • Treatment Planning – Because digital x-rays are useful in diagnosing cavities, infections and periodontal status, radiographs are essential in creating ideal and accurate treatment plans to address each patient’s dental needs.
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What are the Different Types of Digital X-rays?

Dentists use different types of x-ray images for diagnosis and treatment planning:

  • Periapical – This type of x-ray provides an image of the entire tooth including the top of the crown all the way down to its roots. Periapical x-rays are useful in diagnosing teeth cavities, periodontal issues, and infections or cysts around the roots.
  • Bitewing – This type of x-ray provides an image of the biting surfaces of both upper and lower teeth. This radiographic image is helpful in detecting cavities especially ones forming in between the teeth as well as the integrity and fit of existing crowns and fillings.
  • Occlusal View – The occlusal view provides an image of the floor of the mouth, which is primarily used for visualizing the status of development of primary teeth in infants and toddlers.
  • Panoramic View – This is an extraoral image of the face and neck region. This image provides a view of the sinuses, teeth, jaws and their joints, and the nasal area. This image is highly useful for getting an good overall picture of one’s dentition, its roots and the surrounding bone.
  • Cephalogram – This x-ray shows an image of the soft and hard tissues present in the neck region and is primarily used for preparing a treatment plan for patients with orthodontic problems.

What are the Benefits of Digital Dental X-rays?

In comparison to the conventional x-rays, digital x-rays carry several advantages:

  • Lower Radiation Exposure – digital x-rays require very little radiation for capturing an image. Therefore, they are much safer than the conventional film x-rays.
  • Improved Image Quality – digital x-rays provide high-resolution images of the tissues thus providing more diagnostic images for more accurate diagnoses for each tooth.
  • No waiting! – Conventional x-rays may take up to 10-15 minutes for developing an image. On the other hand, digital x-rays are available to be viewed on the screen as soon as they are taken. Thus, the efficiency of digital x-rays are not only helpful for accurate diagnosis but also reduces chairside time for the patient.
  • Easy Sharing – digital x-rays can be easily transferred between mobile and storage devices and can be easily shared with other providers. You don’t need to physically transfer carry the images and can be electronically transferred or stored in memory drives.

What Happens When You Don’t Take Digital X-rays?

Digital x-rays provide detailed information regarding the status of your teeth, gums and the jaw bones. Tooth decay or infections that are not be visible during a clinical exam can be easily detected from a radiograph image. If x-rays are not consistently taken at your regular dental visits, your dentist may not be able to diagnose cavities or periodontal problems at their early stages and therefore you would be at risk for more aggressive treatment once it’s detected at its later stages at which they would appear obvious to the naked eye. Larger decay can become more serious because they could lead to more aggressive and complex treatment, which may lead to more expensive fees and poorer prognosis for the tooth.

Digital x-rays are much safer than conventional film radiographs because they require less radiation. However, large amounts of radiation can still be dangerous and therefore digital x-rays are only taken when it is absolutely necessary like at every 6 month recall. Care must be taken while taking x-rays in pregnant women, and usually require a double lead apron to prevent the developing fetus from harmful radiation. Nevertheless, it is still recommended to take at least four bitewing x-rays at our regular dental checkups to ensure proper diagnosis and early detection of cavities and other dental issues.

Michelle Campbell
Michelle Campbell
19:53 20 Jun 18
Excellent service. Great first impression! Best cleaning I've had in several years, my mouth feels amazing. They even took the time to show me how to brush more effectively. My teeth are back to being pearly white. They were very knowledgeable in regards to my insurance and I've had no issues. The service there is impeccable!
Nonna Beetge
Nonna Beetge
14:21 24 Apr 18
The staff is wonderful, very friendly and informative. I love how they not only take X-rays, but also photos of all your teeth and put them on the big screen. They spent as much time as I needed to go over each area and explain specifics of each tooth. I definitely have a greater understanding of what is going on in there and what I need to do. I also love their space, it has a calming vibe with all kinds of artwork on display. You almost feel like you’re not at the dentist! Thank you all so much, I look forward to seeing you all again! (Said no one to their dentist 😉 )
Allie Hackett
Allie Hackett
18:47 19 Jun 18
I am not the biggest fan of the dentist, however this was the BEST dentist experience I have ever had! Everyone was so kind and I got everything I needed done in one visit! They provided super helpful insight about what was going on with my teeth and took care of everything I needed quickly. I will absolutely be returning! 🙂
Andrew Nguyen
Andrew Nguyen
14:17 10 May 18
Beautiful location and office. Very friendly and welcoming staff! I had a great time conversing with them about movies and music. Dr. Nguyen and his staff were very knowledgeable and stressed the importance of making sure the patient knew what their game plan was. The office is very high tech as well so it was super cool to know that I was getting the latest tech being use on me.
Andrea Andrea
Andrea Andrea
17:15 20 May 18
Love the location, the dentist AND the staff. Everyone there is awesome. It's rare that I leave a dentist office feeling just as good as when I arrive. I was sad I didn't get to see Snickers, but all in all I had a great experience my first time here. Glad to finally have a new "home" dentist since moving to Texas.
Joshua Parra
Joshua Parra
02:17 14 Sep 18
From start to finish great experience. Impeccably clean office, high tech tools, & friendly staff. Went to get my top teeth contoured/shaped. They did a Hollywood star job! I now, have a flawless smile. I even went back the next day for a touch-up on one tooth & they took care of it, graciously. If you want quality cosmetic dentistry inside the loop; look no further. These folks are the best in class.
Bianca Anderson
Bianca Anderson
17:05 05 Sep 18
Very friendly staff. The hygienist's were so knowledgeable and really took the time to teach you about your teeth, they gave my husband and I "homework" to improve our oral health. Love it! Angela was great, great sense of humor (made me laugh a lot) and very professional. Awesome job Nicole, very friendly and took the time to answer all the questions we had (love she was recommending eateries for hubby to take me :). Julia was great at the front counter very lively and knowledgeable as well. They all really took the time and customized everything for us. Able to get free electric toothbrushes but didn't have any in stock.
Ji H Oh
Ji H Oh
15:19 22 Sep 18
I am usually scared of going to the dentist for my annual cleaning but I was completely blown away by the amazing customer service from the staff. Julia was extremely helpful and explained my dental coverage and out of pocket costs. Angela did an exceptional job explaining to me about the importance of dental hygiene and actually taught me how to floss properly. The office was extremely clean and upscale. Dr. Bridget was very sweet and great bedside manners. She explained everything about the treatment plan in a very thorough and concise manner. I was extremely impressed by everyone on the office and I cant wait to come back for my next appointment.
Death Morgulis
Death Morgulis
16:23 12 Sep 18
Great place for all your dental needs. Very inviting and friendly staff. They are very knowledgeable and passionate about the work they do. I've been looking for a good dentist for awhile while neglecting my oral health, but now I think I've found my place. 10/10 would come back for a follow-up appointment.
Trisha Hinojosa
Trisha Hinojosa
18:30 07 Oct 18
Very friendly staff who put up with my inane sense of humor. The entire team team spoke with me 1:1, including:Dental assistants, hygienist, dentist, and insurance admin (explained everything to me in detail including how my insurance works).They explained my x-rays to me, the effects of flossing correctly / incorrectly. I feel like they gave me the education I didn't get as a child on how to care for my mouth, and why it's important. I was doing good stuff for my oral health-- just not correctly or with a positive attitude.GREAT aftercare package.
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Very knowledgeable and informative, explaining all your x-ray and imagery and in creating a course of treatment. The staff is friendly and definitely concerned with their patients. Comfortable environment.

I am not the biggest fan of the dentist, however this was the BEST dentist experience I have ever had! Everyone was so kind and I got everything I needed done in one visit!

Excellent service. Great first impression! Best cleaning I've had in several years, my mouth feels amazing. They even took the time to show me how to brush more effectively. My teeth are back to being pearly white.

They were very prompt and professional. I felt very comfortable in the visit. They have good exam specials without any hidden fees. I have found me a permanent dentist office. Thanks URBN staff.

URBN Dental provided great service and they were all so nice. They did a great job communicating with me and i would recommend to all.

I had a root canal and a crown done here, the entire process took about an hour. Will be back in 2 weeks for my final crown! Great doctor, great staff.