X-rays are now done mostly in digital form. This is when a sensor is used instead of your photographic film. This provides the familiar black and white images doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems and disease. Advantages of using sensors for your x-rays are they are faster, better quality images, and easier to read. We are able to enlarge a certain area of concern and focus on a certain area of the tooth to check for issues. Bone levels are easier detected also. There is less concern for radiation over exposure, the process reduces the radiation that is used. People are concerned about radiation when they come in because of the false information out there. Getting your x-rays done is less radiation than walking in the sun or using a microwave.
Without an x-rays of the whole tooth and supporting bone and gum tissues, there would be no way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention. We like to take x-rays twice a year at your dental cleanings so decay does not get out of control. Most insurance will cover these x-rays at 100% and we are happy to check your benefits for you.
There are different types of x-rays taken at your appointments which allow us to see different areas of concern. A bitewing is the common x-ray taken at your cleaning appointment, this x-rays allows us to see in between your teeth for decay. When you have a toothache a PA (periapical) would be taken this allows us to see the entire tooth and roots and also to check the bone surrounding the tooth for infection. The third x-rays taken is called a panoramic x-rays this is done every 5 years to check for cancer and anything that could be going on in the jaw and joints. These are important to have and should be thought of as a cancer screening x-rays.