Dental X-Rays

Dr.Alan Wishneff Boca Raton Florida Dentist Dr. Alan Wishneff D.D.S.
Restorative Dentistry / Oral Health
June 17, 2017

There are two main types of dental x-rays. They are the intraoral (the x-ray film is placed inside the mouth) and the extraoral (the film is placed outside 2002-06-08-Heliodent-MD-1the mouth).

  • Intraoral x-rays: These are the most common types of dental x-rays today. It shows a lot more detail and will allow a dentist to look for many different dental problems. Dentists are able to look for cavities, check the health of the root and bone around the tooth, check status of the developing teeth and monitor the general health of the teeth and the surrounding jawbone.
  • Extraoral x-rays: Instead of getting pictures of the teeth, these x-rays mainly focus on examining the jaw and skull area. These are not as detailed as the intraoral x-rays are. Dentists will most likely not be able to detect cavities or other dental problems that are located in individual teeth. Extraoral x-rays are used to look at impacted teeth, minor growth and development of the jaw in relation to the teeth. They can also be helpful in identifying potential problems between teeth, the jaw and the temporomandibular joint or other bones of the face.

Intraoral X-Rays

There are different types of intraoral x-rays. Each one will show a different aspect of the mouth and teeth. The following are a few different types.

  • Bite-wing x-rays: They show details in the upper and lower teeth in one area of the mouth. Each bite wing will show an image of the tooth from its crown to the level of the supporting bone. These x-rays are able to detect decay between the teeth and changes in bone density caused by gum disease. They are also used to help determine the proper fit of a crown and the marginal integrity of fillings.
  • Periapical x-rays: These show the whole tooth, from the crown to beyond the end of the root to where the tooth is anchored to the jaw. Each x-ray will the full tooth dimension, including all the teeth in one portion of either the upper or lower jaw. It can be used to detect abnormalities of the root structure and surrounding bone structure.
  • Occlusal x-rays: These are larger and will show the full tooth development and placement. Each x-ray reveals the entire arch of teeth in either the upper or lower jaw.

Extraoral X-Rays

There are also many different types of extraoral x-rays that dentists can use. The following are a few of them.

  • Panoramic x-rays: This type shows the entire mouth, including all the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws, on one single x-ray. It is useful in detecting the position of fully emerged and emerging teeth, locating impacted teeth and aids in the diagnosis of tumors.
  • Tonograms: These will show a particular layer or slice of the mouth while blurring out all other layers. This is useful in examining structures that are difficult to clearly see, meaning other structures are in very close proximity to the structure to be viewed.
  • Cephalometric projections: These will show the entire side of the head. This x-ray is used in examining teeth in relation to the jaw and profile of the individual getting examined. Dentists can use these to help develop a specific treatment plan.
  • Sialography: These involve visualization of the salivary glands after an injection of a dye. The dye used is called a radiopaque contrast agent. It is injected into the salivary glands so the organ (soft tissue that is hard to see) can be viewed on the x-ray film. Dentists will use this in order to test for salivary gland problems, like blockages.
  • Computed tomography: This is also known as a CT scan that shows the body’s interior structures as a three-dimensional image. Most times these x-rays will be taken in a hospital or at a radiology center instead of the dentist office. They can identify problems in the bones of the face, such as tumors and fractures. They may also be used to evaluate bone for the placement of dental implants and difficult extractions.

Advancements in Dental X-Rays

Dentists now have a new x-ray system that they can be using. The new technology is known as digital imaging. Instead of developing x-ray film in a dark room, the x-rays are sent to a computer directly and can be viewed on screen, saved or even printed out. The following are some of the benefits that this new digital imaging can have.

  • There is less radiation than the normal x-ray would have. There is also no waiting for the x-rays to develop; the image is seen on the screen seconds after it is taken.
  • The computer screen allows the image to be enhanced and enlarged many times the actual size. It makes it easier for dentists to see where problems may be located.
  • Images can be sent electronically to another dentist or specialist if a second opinion is needed in determining a certain dental problem. This is also helpful for when a patient moves and needs their records transferred.
  • There is software in the computer that can help a dentist digitally compare current images to previous ones. This is known as subtraction radiography. In this technique, the things in the images that are the same can be “subtracted out”; leaving a clear image of only the portion that is different. This allows dentists to see the smallest changes that may not have been noticed by the naked eye.

For more information about this topic or any other dental topic, contact Dr.Wishneff  at [email protected]  or call (561) 488-3111Dr. Alan Wishneff is a Boca Raton Dentist dedicated to bringing patients state-of-the-art dental care. As a cosmetic, family and restorative dentist, he helps patients enjoy a natural and healthy smile. He is trained in cosmetic dentistry, including porcelain veneers; advanced cosmetic bonding techniques; oral surgery; medical emergency procedures; advanced crown and bridge; advanced TMJ; implant dentistry; endodontics-root canals: utilization of most advanced dental materials. Dr, Wishneff and staff are dedicated to providing great smiles in Boca Raton for more than 30 years. After more than two decades of practicing dentistry in Boca Raton, Dr. Wishneff is more committed than ever to this community.

Image: By R-E-AL (talk | contribs | Gallery)  (German Wikipedia) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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