Digital x-rays, referred to as digital radiography, are standard practice in the dental field and are usually performed once a year. These machines use pulses of radiation to create images of your teeth, jaw, and mouth structures, allowing us to see the condition of your jawbone and various tooth structures. They are commonly used to help us spot any problems in your teeth, including periodontitis (gum disease), bone loss, gum loss, cavities, and even tumors in adults. In adolescents, digital x-rays allow us to see the root structures of the teeth to help prepare for orthodontic work and any unerupted permanent teeth that might be cause for concern. Our staff at Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery are highly experienced and trained to properly use digital x-rays to provide you with the highest standard of dental care you deserve.
Common Types of Digital Dental X-rays
There are currently three different types of dental x-rays used for intraoral care. Each x-ray provides a different benefit and gives us a slightly different view of the anatomy and structure of your mouth and lower face. However, there are two other types of x-rays used only in specific cases, called a cephalogram and a panoramic view.
Bitewing X-ray View
This is a standard x-ray view taken usually once a year by our staff. A bitewing view evenly splits the upper and lower parts of the jaw in the x-ray. It allows us to detect any evidence of bone loss and cavities in your mouth.
Occlusal X-ray View
This type of x-ray view gives us more insight into the bone structures involved in both the upper and lower jaw. This is not used as often as the others, but we must do it if we are looking for any tumors, blockages in the salivary ducts, or severe bone loss further than the sub-gum and crown portions of the teeth. An occlusal x-ray is most commonly used when doing an oral cancer screening.
Periapical X-ray View
A periapical x-ray allows us to take a deeper look at the structures of your teeth. If you experience nerve pain, this will allow us to see what is causing it. It will also be able to show us any impacted decay or damage on the teeth that are below the gum. If you are getting periodontal work, a root canal, or endodontic therapy, we will often use this type of x-ray to get a closer look.
What Is the Process of Getting an X-ray?
We usually perform a periapical and bitewing x-ray view once a year when you come in for your dental cleaning. This will allow us to look at any major discrepancies most associated with oral hygiene. If you notify us that you would prefer an oral cancer screening, we will use an occlusal x-ray view at the same time. The process of getting the x-ray is simple. We will place a lead shield over your body to prevent any radiation from being exposed to the rest of your body. We will then place a piece of film between your teeth for you to bite down on. The x-ray is taken, the image is developed, and the session is complete. It is a painless procedure that takes only a minute or two to complete. If you need to get your annual x-ray or feel you may have other underlying dental issues, contact our Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery office today at (980) 332-7990.