Digital radiography, or digital X-ray, is used to take dental X-rays. An electronic sensor, versus the X-ray film, is used to capture and store the digital image on a computer. In our NYC office, this image may be viewed instantly, as well as enlarged, to go over with our patients. The latest technology aids dentists and dental hygienists in detecting problems more easily. Digital X-rays also reduce radiation by 80-90%, in comparison to the already low exposure of traditional dental X-rays.
Dental X-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools, which provide valuable information that is not visible during a regular dental exam. Our doctors use this information to safely and accurately detect any hidden dental abnormalities, and to complete an accurate treatment plan for his patients in the NYC area. Without X-rays, it is possible for problem areas to go undetected.
What Can Digital X-Rays Reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Cancerous and noncancerous tumors
- Bone loss
- Decay between the teeth
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Developmental abnormalities
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
By detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage, you can save time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
There are two distinct and common types of dental X-rays: intraoral (meaning the X-ray film is inside the mouth) and extraoral (meaning the X-ray film is outside the mouth).
- Intraoral X-rays are the most typical and routine type of dental X-ray taken. These X-rays provide a lot of detail and allow your dentist to locate any cavities, check the overall health of the tooth root and bone surrounding the tooth, examine the status of developing teeth, and monitor the general health of your teeth and jawbone.
- Extraoral X-rays show teeth, but their main focus is the structure of the jaw and skull. These X-rays do not provide the same level of detail found in intraoral X-rays, which is why they are not used for detecting cavities or for identifying problems with individual teeth. Extraoral X-rays are approved to look for impacted teeth, oversee growth and development of the jaws in relation to the teeth, and to assess and establish any potential problems between teeth, jaw lines and the temporomandibular joint, or other bones framing the balance of the face.
Are Digital X-Rays Safe?
Everyone is exposed naturally to radiation in the environment. Digital X-rays produce a radiation level that is significantly lower than traditional dental x-rays. Digital X-rays are better for your health and safety, faster, and more comfortable to take, which decreases your visit time. Additionally, there is no need to develop the X-rays, as the digital image is captured electronically. This eliminates the disposal of harmful wastes and chemicals into the environment.
Although digital x-rays emit a low level of radiation, they are considered safe. Dentists take the necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These precautions consist of taking X-rays when necessary, and using lead apron shields to protect the body.
How Often Should Digital X-Rays Be Taken?
X-rays may or may not be taken during your checkup. In the past, many dentists took X-rays at every checkup. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently says that X-rays are not needed at every visit. Some patients may be able to go as long as three to five years between X-rays. Others may need them every few months. Your dentist will decide if you need X-rays during your checkup visit by considering the results of your clinical examination, your dental history and your individual risk for developing cavities. If you are seeing a new dentist upon the first visit, ask for a copy of your X-rays from your former specialist. This will help you to avoid repeating X-rays.
The need for a dental X-ray depends on each individual’s dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary X-rays based on your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease.
It is recommended that new patients have a full mouth series of dental X-rays. A full series is good for three to five years. Bite-wing X-rays (X-rays of the top and bottom teeth biting together) is taken at checkup visits and is recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
To learn more about digital X-Rays or to setup your consultation with our NYC clinic, please give us a call and one of our Patient Advisors will get back to you with more details.