Digital X-Rays

Digital radiographs, commonly referred to as x-rays, are a critical diagnostic and assessment tool for dentists. At our practice, we offer modern digital x-rays for your convenience and to enhance treatment efficiency.

In the past, dental x-rays were obtained through a film process akin to analog photography. However, with the introduction of digital imaging, computerized radiography has become the standard in the dental industry. Digital x-rays reduce radiation exposure by up to 90% compared to traditional film-based x-rays, which were already relatively low in risk. Instead of utilizing traditional silver-oxide x-ray film, which required development and fixation in caustic and environmentally harmful solutions, the new system captures images through a small electronic sensor.

X-rays, also known as radiographs, have been a fundamental component of preventive dental care for years. X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that is invisible to the human eye. When these electromagnetic rays were first discovered, scientists weren't sure what to call them, so they referred to them as x-rays, a name that has persisted. X-rays can pass through the soft tissues of the face and mouth, such as the lips and cheeks, but they are absorbed by the denser materials of teeth and bone. This unique property allows dentists to identify potential oral health issues that may not be readily visible from the outside. X-rays are primarily used for detecting cavities, but they also aid in examining tooth roots, assessing the health of the bone surrounding the tooth, evaluating potential periodontal (gum) disease, analyzing tooth and jaw positioning, and monitoring the development of younger patients.

Among the various types of dental x-rays, including periapical and full-mouth, the most common type is known as bite-wing x-rays, named after the wing-shaped films that were once employed. These x-rays are typically taken while you're seated in the dental chair and capture an image of multiple teeth at once, including their roots. During the process, a dental team member will position a sensor in a specific part of your mouth and request that you bite down while they aim a tube-shaped device at your face. This device serves as the x-ray emitter, sending x-rays through your tissues and onto the sensor in your mouth. Importantly, there is usually no discomfort associated with getting dental x-rays.

One significant advantage of modern digital x-rays over the older film-based approach is the elimination of the waiting period between taking the x-rays and examining them. The x-ray image of the tooth can be instantaneously displayed on a monitor in the treatment room, allowing the dentist to assess the health of your teeth and identify potential issues immediately. This immediacy enables the dentist to point out potential problem areas to you, providing you with a clear view of your oral health condition as they explain it. The digital files are also easily shareable with any other dental professionals who may be involved in your future care.