Radiographs, also known as x-ray images have become an essential requirement for all types of dental procedures, including routine dental checkups. X-ray images are used by dentists for visualizing teeth and structures around the face and neck region, which are not visible during a routine clinical examination. Therefore, they are not only essential in the early and accurate diagnosis of dental problems, but they are also useful in preparing a customized treatment plan for patients.
What are Digital X-rays?
Previously, x-ray images were recorded by directing a beam of x-rays towards 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 according to the operator’s skill and technique. Keeping this in view, digital x-rays were introduced in dentistry. 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.
What are the Uses of Digital Dental X-rays?
Digital x-rays provide a much better image quality than the conventional ones. That is why dentists use them for the following purposes:
- Diagnosing Teeth Cavities – while some teeth cavities are visible to the dentist through the naked eye, most of them develop inside deeper areas of the teeth and are not visible to the naked eye. In these cases, digital x-rays prove highly useful for visualizing teeth cavities, which appear darker than the healthy tooth structure due to the loss of minerals.
- Visualize the Status of Developing Teeth – digital x-ray images provide the dentist with a clear view of the status of the eruption of the permanent teeth. They also provide information regarding teeth which have become impacted and are unable to erupt into normal occlusion.
- 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 peri-apical 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 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 – different types of x-ray images are used by dentists for preparing customized treatment plans for their patients. For example, digital x-rays are used during orthodontic treatment, for dental fillings and extractions etc.
What are the Different Types of Digital X-rays?
Dentists use different types of x-ray images for diagnosis and treatment planning:
- Peri-apical – this x-ray provides an image of the entire tooth; from the crown till the root end. These x-ray images are useful in diagnosing teeth cavities, periodontal problems, and cysts around teeth.
- Bite-wing – these x-rays record an image of the biting surfaces of the all the upper and lower teeth. This image is helpful in the diagnosis of teeth cavities, and also provides information regarding the extent of overlap between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
- 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 milk and permanent teeth in babies.
- Panoramic View – this is an extra-oral 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 when multiple teeth are to be visualized since it provides an image of all the teeth.
- 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-ray imaging require exposure to very less radiation for capturing an image. Therefore, they are much safer than the conventional x-rays.
- Improved Image Quality – digital x-rays provide high-resolution images of the desired tissues, which can be immediately visualized on a screen. As a result, they provide much better details which help the dentists in making an accurate diagnosis and a highly customized treatment plan.
- No waiting! – Conventional x-rays may take up to 10-15 for developing an image. On the other hand, digital x-ray images are available as soon as they are taken. This not only saves the time of the dental team but also reduces the waiting time of the patients.
- Easy Sharing – digital x-ray images can be easily transferred between mobile and storage devices and can be easily shared with other people. You don’t need to physically carry the images. You can just keep them in your phones or 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. In fact, dental problems which are not visible during a clinical examination can be easily visualized on a digital x-ray. If you don’t get a digital x-ray every time you visit for a checkup, your dentist will not be able to diagnose teeth cavities or periodontal problems at their early stages. They will only be diagnosed when they are large enough to become visible to the naked eye. At this stage, the problem would have become quite serious, and you may have to spend a lot of money on its treatment.
Digital x-rays are much safer than conventional radiographs. However, radiations are still dangerous and digital x-rays should only be used when there is a necessity. In addition, care must be taken while making x-ray images in pregnant women. They must wear a lead apron to prevent the developing fetus from harmful radiations. Whenever you visit your dentist for checkups, your x-ray images will be made which will help in early diagnosis and treatment of dental problems, thereby saving you from future trouble and expenses on dental treatment.
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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.