5 Fun Facts About Digital Dental X-Rays

If you’ve ever been to the dentist, chances are you’ve had digital dental x-rays taken. Although similar to traditional x-rays, digital x-rays are a bit different, and they are immediately available for your dentist to see and use for your oral care.

Dental x-rays are an invaluable diagnostic tool, and are necessary for your Asheville dentist to properly see your gums, teeth, and jawbone for specific procedures such as dental implants and even periodontal therapy.

Here are five fun facts you may not have known about digital dental x-rays!

  1. Digital X-Rays Expose People to Less Radiation Than Traditional X-Rays

Digital x-rays expose patients to a much lower amount of radiation than conventional x-rays while taking higher quality images.

Although some patients have concerns about the amount of radiation they are exposed to with digital dental x-rays, the truth is that the exposure is similar to the radiation humans naturally experience throughout the day through sunlight, microwaves, and even cell phones.

With digital dental x-rays, you still wear the heavy apron, which contains lead to help reduce your exposure to radiation as much as possible when receiving x-rays. Overall, dental x-rays are considered to be safe for both adults and children, although you should always let your dentist know if you are pregnant before receiving dental x-rays. You and your dentist can discuss how often x-rays are needed, or for which procedures you may need digital dental x-rays for.

  1. X-Rays Do More Than Give Your Dentist a Picture of Your Teeth

X-rays aren’t just for taking pretty pictures of your teeth. With digital dental x-rays, your dentist can see so much more than with a visual exam alone. X-rays give your Asheville dentist the opportunity to see:

  • Cavities that may be starting between the teeth
  • The condition of your tooth roots
  • Your jawbone density
  • Impacted teeth
  • Developing teeth
  • Gum issues such as gum disease
  • Teeth misalignment issues that may require orthodontic treatment

Although a physical oral exam is, of course, necessary and important when you come in for a check-up, getting x-rays scan help your dentist have a more complete picture of your oral health, especially if you’re a new patient.

  1. You Can See Your X-Rays Right Away

Unlike with traditional x-rays, there’s no waiting with digital x-rays. The x-rays are immediately available for you and your dentist to see on a computer or another screen in the office. This makes it easy for your dentist to educate you about what’s going on with your smile with large, clear images.

With digital dental x-rays, the images are also a better quality than traditional x-rays would be, which allows your dentist to clearly see more and make the proper diagnosis or recommend a treatment plan to help you take the best possible care of your smile.

Since the x-rays are already in a digital form, it’s also easier for your dentist to send the x-rays to other oral healthcare professionals if necessary, such as an oral surgeon or endodontist, or even your primary care physician to collaborate on your care.

  1. There Are Different Types of Digital Dental X-Rays

Although many patients are familiar with the standard set of bitewing x-rays that dentists typically take during your regular check-up, there are actually different types of dental x-rays. The three most common digital dental x-rays include:

  • Bitewing, which looks at both your upper and lower jaw to identify cavities or bone loss in your jaw.
  • Periapical, which helps your dentist get a better look at your tooth roots. These x-rays can be helpful for people who are experiencing tooth pain or have impacted teeth. Periapical x-rays are also done when a patient may need root canal therapy or periodontal therapy.
  • Occlusal, which also looks at the upper and lower jaw to help detect bone loss as well as any abnormalities such as tumors that could be indicative of oral cancer.

Other types of dental x-rays include panoramic x-rays, in which your dentist can identify fractures or other abnormalities in your jaw bone, and cephalogram x-rays. Cephalogram x-rays can help your dentist identify an improper bite, and may be necessary for dental implant placement or dentures.

Your dentist may also recommend a cone beam CT, which is a type of x-ray that makes a 3D picture of your facial structures. Cone beam technology can be invaluable when placing a dental implant or removing an impacted wisdom tooth.

Generally, dentists will recommend bitewing x-rays annually to check for decay and what’s called a “full-set” of x-rays every five years or so. You and your Asheville dentist can discuss your x-ray preferences and needs during your appointment.

  1. Dental X-Rays Are Both Preventative and Diagnostic

Digital dental x-rays aren’t just used to diagnose certain oral health conditions or help your dentist better plan for your care. X-rays are also instrumental when preventing tooth decay and gum disease, as they allow your dentist to keep an eye on any developing conditions and treat them sooner for better success.

X-rays may also be used to pinpoint specific problems, such as a tooth abscess, a misaligned bite, or crooked teeth. The applications of x-rays in dentistry are truly versatile and support your dentist when helping you take care of your smile. X-rays can even allow your dentist to see oral cancer and TMJ problems.

Of course, you can refuse dental x-rays, but for specific dental processes, such as identifying trauma or placing an implant, they will be necessary for your care. Your Asheville dentist can discuss the risks and benefits more with you during your appointment, as well as answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.

When Was the Last Time You Had Dental X-Rays?

If it’s been a while since you’ve had dental x-rays, it may be time to get a comprehensive evaluation of your smile for a check-up. Contact Saunders DDS today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our digital x-ray technology. Call us at (828) 277-6060 or you can request an appointment online using our contact form!