Digital x-rays allow the diagnosis of dental problems that cannot be detected with the naked eye. Maintaining a dental hygiene routine at home is essential to ensure that your teeth and gums are in good health. However, it would help if you supplement your dental care routine with regular visits to the dentist. At each visit, the dentist reviews the patient’s oral cavity to ensure that the teeth and gums are in good condition, and no problems are affecting the patient’s oral health.
Sometimes it is not possible to detect problems in the teeth and gums just by looking at the mouth, so the dentist may use other tools to diagnose. One of the most useful dentistry tools is digital x-rays; these allow dentists to detect oral health problems at an early stage of development.
What are digital x-rays?
X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that penetrates the body and allows us to form images of the structures inside us called “radiographs.” When used in the oral cavity, they are called dental radiographs. Dental x-rays are a tool that helps in the prevention and diagnosis of various diseases and dental health problems. In the past, dental radiographs were obtained by a more complicated process that produced more radiation; however, technological advances brought digital x-rays.
Unlike the old x-rays in which it was necessary to use rolls of film to obtain the images, digital x-rays are made thanks to a small sensor inserted into the oral cavity and allow to get the images in a digital format more quickly.
Types of dental x-rays
Dental radiographs are divided into two main types: intraoral x-rays, which are those that allow images to be obtained from inside the mouth, and extraoral x-rays that are taken from outside the oral cavity.
Depending on the type of dental x-rays, we can also determine the following subgroup:
- Periapical x-rays: These allow you to see an entire tooth, from the crown to the root.
- Bite-wing X-rays: These provide a picture of the upper and lower back teeth and allow the dentist to observe how these teeth touch each other.
- Occlusal X-rays: These allow you to observe the general placement of a full arch of teeth (upper or lower). These x-rays allow monitoring the development of baby teeth or permanent teeth.
- Panoramic x-rays: these x-rays allow obtaining a complete image of the entire oral cavity. These are used to determine if a patient needs orthodontic treatment or to determine tumor presence in the mouth.
What are digital x-rays used for in dentistry?
Dental x-rays are a useful resource for preventing and diagnosing diseases that can affect a person’s oral health. These allow the observation of dental structures and tissues and help dentists to:
- Find cavities, even in an early stage of development.
- Observe if there are problems inside a tooth or at the root.
- Determine the presence of tumors or cysts that could be an indication of oral cancer.
- Find dental abscesses.
- Diagnose the periodontal disease in an early stage.
- Monitor the development of baby teeth or permanent teeth to determine if there are problems with the teeth’ alignment.
- Observe the wisdom tooth development to make sure that they do not get stuck under the gum or that they suffer from some problem.
How is a digital dental x-ray performed?
Generally, digital x-rays are used during a routine dental checkup. After an initial examination of the patient’s mouth, the dentist may need to perform a dental X-ray to determine if any problems cannot be seen with the naked eye. To begin, the dentist covers the patient with a lead apron that serves as protection against radiation. Next, a small plastic sensor is inserted into the patient’s mouth, which will allow the X-ray to be taken. Finally, the dentist takes the necessary x-rays to complement the review. This process can be repeated until the desired images are obtained since the procedure is painless and does not pose a risk to the patient’s health.
Benefits and risks
Digital x-rays are one of the most useful tools used in dentistry. It allows for more effective prevention and a more accurate diagnosis of dental diseases and problems. It also offers benefits such as:
- Speed: Digital X-rays are obtained in seconds, unlike older X-rays that can take several days to develop.
- Quality: the digital images obtained offer very high quality and definition and allow a more detailed dental structure view. These images can also be edited to improve brightness, contrast, and definition, thus obtaining a better view of the result.
- Safety: Digital X-rays produce less radiation than conventional X-rays, thus reducing risks to patients. They also produce less polluting waste, which means a less negative impact on the environment.
Also, because they are digital, the images obtained can be quickly sent to other health specialists, if necessary. This greatly facilitates the diagnosis since the images can be viewed on any PC or Smartphone. Digital X-rays do not pose a risk to the patients’ health, as they produce very low levels of radiation. However, patients must wear a lead apron to protect the rest of the body. Also, pregnant women should only undergo this procedure if it is strictly necessary.
In conclusion, digital x-rays are an essential and safe tool that allows dentists to supplement routine checkups.
At Aberdeen Dentistry, our dentists perform comprehensive dental checkups, including digital x-rays, to provide complete diagnoses to our patients. If you’re looking for the best place in Boynton Beach, to receive quality dental care, think no more. Visit our dental practice today!