Dental x-rays are called dental radiographs. There are different types of dental x-rays that you may require.
Each type of dental x-ray has a specific purpose: to analyses a specific area of the mouth and the surrounding structures.
Dental x-rays can either be intra-oral, where the film or sensor is placed inside your mouth or extra-oral, meaning the film or sensor is placed outside your mouth.
•interproximal or bitewing
Periapical x-rays show the tooth and the full root. This type of dental x-ray is used to analyze the structure of a tooth, the surrounding bone and the root. Our dentist uses this type of x-ray to detect periodontal disease and infection of a tooth.
Interproximal x-rays, also know as bitewing x-rays, show the crowns of the teeth top and bottom on one side of the mouth. These x-rays are used to detect cavities between the teeth, cavities under previous fillings and also bone loss caused by periodontal disease.
Much like a periapical x-ray, an occlusal x-ray shows the entire structure of a particular tooth on the top or bottom of your mouth. This type of x-ray is mostly used to x-ray your front teeth. These x-rays detect impacted teeth, supernumerary (extra) teeth and infections.
Panoramic x-rays, commonly know as an OPG, is an extra-oral x-ray which shows a panoramic view of all your teeth, the jaws, the joints, and the sinuses. This type of x-ray is usually taken for wisdom tooth pain, jaw fractures, to identify cysts or tumours and also before commencing orthodontic treatment.
Commonly used for orthodontics, cephalometric x-rays are extra-oral x-rays which show the whole cranium. This type of x-ray determines the relation between the teeth and the jaw, which helps plan orthodontic treatment.
Cone-bean x-rays create a three-dimensional image of a certain area in the mouth. This type of x-ray is used to determine where to place dental implants and also for difficult root-canal treatments.
Digital x-rays are better than the old film x-rays as they require less radiation. Changes in the contrast on x-ray films had to be achieved by increases in the radiation dosage. Today a minimum dosage can be used, and the contrast adjusted on the computer.
As a courtesy to our patients we tend not to take x-rays while pregnant as you may feel uncomfortable with the idea. However in our practice we use a modern lead x-ray apron over the body which prevents x-rays passing through, making it very safe. Dental x-rays taken here in our rooms are also extremely low dose, primarily because they are modern digital x-rays.