Digital Radiographs

Digital radiographs (x-rays) are an important diagnostic tool. While traditional film radiographs provide critical insight into the oral and physical health of the patient, hi-tech digital radiographs allow us to better view and enhance your images on a large computer screen.

We can also copy or print digital radiographs with ease. This allows for effective comparison of new results to previous images and insight on how treatments have impacted dental conditions. If we refer you to a specialist, digital radiographs can be safely and securely transmitted via computer – reducing the need for an additional set of preliminary x-rays in many cases.

Why Use Digital Radiographs?

One of the most significant advantages of utilizing digital radiographs is reduction of radiation exposure. Digital radiographs also eliminate the use of film and required chemicals for processing, making the overall procedure much less harmful to the environment.

The larger computer screen used to display digital radiographs allows dentists to view any problems or irregularities with added clarity. The potential for early detection of decay or periodontal problems and reducing complicated conditions later is vastly increased.

Here are some of the main conditions that digital radiographs can better expose:  

  • Early and hidden decay

  • Bone recession

  • Tumors

  • Un-erupted permanent teeth

  • Wisdom teeth

  • Fractures and trauma

  • Positioning of the teeth

  • Developmental irregularities

  • Tooth positioning

How Are Digital Radiographs Taken?      

The technique for capturing digital radiographs is similar to that of film-based radiographs. Digital radiographs use an electronic sensor to capture images, as opposed to film.  After exposure, the digital image is transferred to the computer. Processing traditional film can take up to five minutes, but a digital image is available immediately.  Once the image is on the screen, the contrast and brightness can be altered to produce a much clearer and usable image for us and for you to view.

We take 2 types of digital x-rays in our office.  Smaller intra-oral views provide the most detail.  The two standard views are periapical and bitewing.  The periapical view is used to inspect the root tips for decay, disease or damage, while the bitewing view provides close inspection in-between the teeth allowing for early detection of hidden decay.  The extra-oral panoramic view provides a comprehensive view of the entire upper and lower jaws in one view.  It is useful in evaluating the overall condition of the teeth and  bone as well as showing hidden teeth and abnormalities.  Bitewing radiographs are generally  taken every 6-18 months while panoramic radiographs are taken every 3-5 years and as needed.  

Our office is committed to taking the fewest number of radiographs that are necessary to properly evaluate your mouth.  If you have questions or concerns about getting a digital radiograph, feel free to discuss with us.