October 3, 2016
Digital dental X-rays are an important diagnostic tool. Uncovering hidden decay, damage to existing restorations and other oral health issues, these modern radiographs release only minute amounts of radiation for better patient safety. Learn why the team at Mt. Holly Family dentistry uses digital X-rays for all their patients.
Why Dentists X-ray Teeth
Dr. H. William Greenberg, Dr. Vrishali Govitrikar and Dr. Adam Cygler of Mt. Holly Family Dentistry use state-of-the-art digital x-rays to visualize teeth, gums, jaw and facial bones. These images are important because they give the doctors a clearer view of:
- Tooth decay, particularly in between teeth and in other hidden areas of the mouth
- How teeth and bone structure are developing (in children and teens in particular)
- Gum health (presence and extent of periodontal disease)
- Dental abscesses and oral injuries such as fractures and displaced teeth
- Tumors or other suspect oral tissues
- A new patient’s general oral health
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Congenital malformations
- Congenital absence of teeth
- Bone loss due to periodontal disease
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
- Oral injuries
The types of views include panoramic (the entire mouth), bite wing (posterior teeth), periapical (for a good look at a tooth from root to crown) and occlusal (showing how teeth in one arch bite with the teeth in the opposing arch). Your dentist determines which views he or she needs and when to take them. The Food and Drug Administration developed clear guidelines for use of dental X-rays back in the 1980s. In general, child need more frequent imaging because their teeth and jaws are still developing. Plus, people with compromised oral health require more X-rays to check treatment progress and development of additional problems.
Old Style Versus Digital X-rays
The origin of dental X-rays goes back to the 1890’s. Images at this time were blurry at best, took larger amounts of radiation and required a lot of time to take and to develop. Film radiographs (another word for X-rays) exclusively were used by all dentists until recently. Now dentists favor digital imaging because of its greater, low-radiation safety for both patients and professional staff and for other reasons, including:
- Filmless development (images are captured digitally and transferred to computer or cloud storage)
- More timely processing (it’s practically instantaneous)
- Ease of enlargement for better viewing on large chairside monitors
- Ease of patient teaching and explanation of findings and procedures
- Ease of transfer to the primary care physician or a dental specialist such as an orthodontist or oral surgeon
- Higher resolution of images for more precise diagnoses
Even though digital dental X-rays are deemed safer, pregnant or lactating women should postpone imaging for elective dental procedures.
Prevention is Best
Digital X-rays are one of many tools the team at Mt. Holly Family Dentistry uses to stay on top of your oral health. Partnering with your hygiene habits at home, X-rays, cleanings and visual exams by our expert doctors and hygienists help optimize your dental and gum health. For your routine appointment, contact Mt. Holly Family Dentistry today.
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