Dental radiology is a vital diagnostic tool in dentistry. It allows a visualisation of tooth structure, an assessment of the periodontal and pulpal health of the tooth as well as any bony/soft tissue pathology that may be present.
Digital x-rays have numerous advantages over the traditional x-rays. Advantages include time efficiency, (bypassing chemical processing), the ability to digitally transfer and enhance images, and also significantly less radiation is used to produce an image compared to conventional radiography.
Why have dental x-rays?
Dental x-rays are an important part of routine dental care for both adults and children. Not only do dental x-rays reveal potential problems with incoming teeth, they can also reveal potential problems caused by hidden plaque. In addition to detecting common problems with teeth, dental x-rays can help detect gum disease and even osteoporosis.
There are two different types of dental x-rays that we routinely take at our practice: bitewing and periapical. The bitewing x-ray is taken when the teeth bite down together and shows the crown portions of the top and bottom teeth. The periapical is a more selective x-ray taken to show one or two specific teeth from crown to root.
In children and adults dental x-rays are recommended because they show the position, number, and size of teeth and because they can detect the presence of decay before they can be seen on the surface of the teeth. Without dental x-rays, a dentist must rely only on a visual examination of the teeth. Sometimes decay begins forming from plaque lodged between the teeth where a dentist can’t see. With the aid of dental x-rays, hidden decay can be detected and intercepted early so there is less damage to the tooth.
Routine dental x-rays can also detect impacted teeth, which can be a problem from childhood to early adulthood. In the event of injury, dental x-rays help determine the type and extent of injury.
Two other types of x-rays used as part of dental treatment are OPGs and Lateral Cephs.