At Park Dental Arts, one of the many ways we provide superior dental care is through the use of dental x-rays that allow San Diego dentist Drs. Peggy Curtis and Hilda Thompson to detect decay and disease earlier than what’s possible with a basic oral exam. As a new patient, you will most likely receive a dental x-ray; Drs. Peggy Curtis and Hilda Thompson may also choose to have one taken if you have signs or a history of disease or decay, or if your teeth are touching and making it difficult to see all surfaces. Digital x-rays, also known as digital radiographs, are quickly taking the place of traditional film-based dental x-rays and have become one of the most important advances in dental technology today, offering our patients substantial benefits.
What Is a Digital X-Ray?
During a digital x-ray, a small sensor is placed inside your mouth, instead of the traditional paper tabs that fit awkwardly and often cause pain. The sensor is connected to a computer by a thin, unobtrusive wire and records a highly detailed image of your mouth. The image is then sent to the computer, where it is instantly projected onto a screen for the dentist to review.
The two primary types of dental x-rays are intraoral (taken from inside the mouth) and extraoral (taken from the outside). Bitewing x-rays are the most common type of intraoral radiograph. Traditionally, uncomfortable pieces of film were placed inside the mouth for the patient to bite down on while the x-ray was being taken. With digital technology, the small sensors make this type of imaging much more comfortable. A panoramic x-ray is an extraoral x-ray in which a machine rotates around the head. The resulting images allow the dentist to see the entire mouth at once.
What Are the Benefits of Digital X-Rays?
Digital x-rays benefit both patient and dentist alike in many ways. Benefits include:
- Reduced chair time and wait time — results are instant and highly accurate
- Improved imaging — images can also be sharpened, enlarged, and optimized in a variety of ways that improve diagnostic proficiency
- Less radiation — the radiation exposure from digital imaging is 80% less than from traditional x-rays
- Decreased environmental impact — digital x-rays eliminate the material and chemical waste produced by traditional film-based x-rays