Digital Dental X-Rays
At Milltown Dental, X-rays as an essential part of your dental treatment plan. Although X-rays are designed as a tool in diagnosing dental issues, we also use them as a preventative measure to identify potential oral health issues before they progress.
What is a digital dental X-ray?
An X-ray uses “energy” to pass through soft tissues to detect issues that cannot be seen by the human eye. Although we can use oral exams to look for dental issues, an X-ray will show us issues “under the covers” or between teeth that might be harder to detect. Digital X-rays allow us to take X-rays with minimal exposure to radiation, while producing clear computer images that can be stored electronically as part of your dental records.
What are the types of digital dental X-rays?
There are two main categories of digital dental X-rays: intraoral and extraoral. Intraoral X-rays are taken inside the mouth while extraoral X-rays are taken outside the mouth. Intraoral X-rays provide a high level of detail giving us an excellent look at teeth, bone and the supporting tissue in your mouth.
We can order different X-rays as a diagnostic tool to confirm the suspicions of specific issues. These X-rays can include:
- Periapical: These X-rays are used to view the tooth from the crown to the bone.
- Bite-Wing: Provides a view of lower and upper posterior for occlusion. They are also used to look for decay between your back teeth.
- Panoramic: This X-ray takes an entire shot of your teeth, jaws, nasal area, sinuses and the joints of the jaw. These are taken prior to treatments such as orthodontics or implants. They are also used to look for bone abnormalities and fractures, cysts, impacted teeth, infections and tumours.
- Occlusal: This shows the bite of the upper or lower jaw. It is effective in following the development of children’s teeth with a view of both primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth.
How are X-rays taken?
We perform digital X-rays in our office. We use a heavy lead apron and thyroid collar to protect you from radiation exposure. For intraoral X-rays, we place a small plastic apparatus in your mouth holding the X-ray film. Patients bite down on the apparatus to hold it in place while the technician takes the X-ray.
Panoramic X-rays use a special machine that is completely pain-free. It consists of an X-ray tube and detector. The technician will place your head in position using a chin and side rests to hold your head steady, and the X-ray tube will rotate in a semicircle around your head to take the image in about 15 seconds.
Do X-rays hurt?
Dental X-rays are completely pain-free. If you experience severe TMJ issues it can be difficult to accommodate the apparatus used to hold the film for intraoral X-rays, but we make every effort to accommodate patients with special requirements.
What are X-rays used for?
We use X-rays to:
- Find cavities
- Observe the roots of the teeth
- Check the bone health
- Identify periodontal disease
- Observe developing teeth, especially wisdom teeth
- Look for signs that could cause issues with your dental health
What are the benefits of dental X-rays?
X-rays are required to help us diagnose and prevent future dental problems. These issues can include cavities, infections and gum disease. We can see what’s happening inside a tooth and beneath the gums, which can identify decay beneath restorative work as well as assess bone health.
Bone health is an important aspect of dental health, as healthy bone and the supporting tissue hold your teeth in place. X-rays also help confirm the need for treatments and aid in helping us identify the areas of the teeth that require restorative work.
When are X-rays used for children?
Dental X-rays for children are used so that dentists can:
- See how baby teeth are erupting
- Track the number, size and location of teeth before they erupt
- Look for extra or missing teeth
- Watch for signs your child might need braces
Are digital dental X-rays safe for children?
Digital X-rays are an excellent option for children, as they help minimize exposure to radiation. Precautions that we take to ensure your child’s comfort and safety during their X-ray include:
- The use of leaded thyroid collars and aprons
- Only taking X-rays as needed
- Abiding by the recommended exposure times suitable for children
- Using the most up-to-date equipment
Digital dental X-rays are a crucial tool to help us provide the best possible treatment. They provide a preventative approach to dental care while assisting us in properly diagnosing issues and recommending the appropriate treatment. Please feel free to contact our staff with any questions or concerns. Call us at (905) 878-8528 to book your appointment today.