Dental X-rays

X-rays are high frequency light (or radiation) that penetrates different substances with different rates and absorption. In dentistry, there are typically four types of x-rays: periapical, bite-wing, occlusal, and panoramic.

In dentistry, there are typically four types of X-rays:

  • Periapical x-rays: used to look at the root tip of the tooth
  • Bite-wing x-rays: used to look between the teeth for decay
  • Occlusal x-rays: are primarily used for children to show the dentist the development of the child’s permanent teeth. Some children have Congenitally Missing teeth, which means they were born without a permanent tooth.
  • Panoramic x-rays: used to see the entire jaw bone, check for tumors and growths, view the position of your wisdom teeth, impacted teeth and even extra teeth

Dental x-rays are an important tool in the diagnosis and treatment of dental problems. They do not, however, replace the need for a visual examination of the head, neck, TMJ and the oral cavity. It is only with the combination of both the x-rays and the visual examination that the dentist can best diagnose his or her patients.

Are they safe?

Our environment contains natural radiation and the dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation that the public and professional community considers safe. Many precautions are taken to ensure their safety including using lead aprons, shields, and a fast process which limits exposure.

You will be happy to know that 18 conventional dental x-rays deliver 56,000 times less radiation than an upper GI series, 800 times Less than a chest x-ray, and 40 times less radiation than a typical day of background radiation from the sun. Dental x-rays are both safe and effective, and can be used during pregnancy. Most of Family 1st Dental offices have integrated digital x-rays into their offices, which have a minimal radiation exposure. Eventually all of Family 1st Dental office will have digital x-ray.

Digital x-rays offer additional advantages, with an additional 80 percent reduction in the radiation exposure to the conventional dental x-rays stated above. Using digital x-rays there is no need for film, processing chemicals, and the dentist gets the image in about 3 seconds. The exposure to radiation with digital x-ray is very minimal and hard to measure.

How often will I need dental X-rays?

Each patient is unique and the number of dental x-rays needed is based on their individual dental health needs. If you are concerned with the recommend necessity of x-rays, please discuss your feelings with your doctor and dental hygienist to gain more information and to create a healthy plan for you. x-rays are often used for a few years, unless major dental restorations are preformed. Check-up exams may require a few x-rays to be taken. These are called Bite-wing x-rays. They are a single x-rays used to reveal the crowns of several upper and lower teeth as they bite down.

Note: For more information on dentistry, please visit the following two websites: The American Dental Association Website http://www.ada.org and WebMD at http://www.webmd.com or visit our links page. Please ask our knowledgeable staff any questions or concerns you may have. They are there to help you!