Digital X-Rays

Digital radiographs, commonly known as radiographs, are a vital diagnostic & assessment tool for dentists. We offer modern digital radiographs at our practice, both for your convenience & for efficiency of treatment.

In the past, dental radiographs were captured using a film process similar to an analog photograph. With the advent of digital imaging, computerized radiography has become the dental industry standard. Digital radiographs require up to 90% less radiation than conventional film-type radiographs, which were already fairly low risk to begin with. Instead of using the traditional silver-oxide radiograph film, which must be developed & then fixed in caustic & environmentally damaging solutions, the new system takes pictures via a small electronic sensor.

What Is A Digital X-Ray?

X-rays, also known as radiographs, have long been part of preventive care in dentistry. X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation that is invisible to human eyes. When scientists first discovered evidence of these electromagnetic rays, they weren’t sure what they were, so they called them radiographs, & the name stuck.

X-rays can pass through the soft tissues of the face & mouth (lips, cheeks, etc.) but are absorbed by the hard material of teeth & bone. This allows the dentist to see potential oral health issues that may not be easily visible from the outside. X-rays are used primarily to find cavities, but dentists also use them to look at tooth roots, to evaluate the health of the bone surrounding the tooth, to assess possible periodontal (gum) disease problems, to analyze tooth & jaw positioning & to keep track of development in younger patients.

Type of Dental Digital X-Rays

While there are several types of dental radiographs (including periapical & full-mouth), the most common kind of dental radiographs are called bite-wing radiographs, based on the wing shape of the films that were once used. These radiographs are done while you’re in the dental chair & capture an image of several teeth at a time, roots included. A dental team member will place a sensor in a certain part of your mouth & ask you to bite down while they aim a tube-shaped device at your face. This is the radiograph emitter, which sends the radiographs through your tissues & onto the sensor in your mouth. No light or heat will come from the emitter. There is usually no discomfort associated with getting dental radiographs.

The Advantage of Modern Digital X-Rays

One other big advantage of modern digital radiographs over the old film type is the lack of a lag time between taking the radiographs & being able to examine them. The radiograph picture of the tooth can be instantaneously transmitted onto a monitor in the treatment room so we can see your teeth & surrounding structures while you’re still in the chair. The immediacy of digital radiographs allows the dentist to assess the health of your teeth & identify potential problems right away. The dentist can easily point out potential trouble spots to you, allowing you to see & understand your oral health condition as the dentist explains it. The digital files are also easy to share with any other dental professionals who might be involved in your care in the future.

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