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Radiographs (x-rays) are an important diagnostic tool for dental professionals.
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.
How Are Digital Radiographs Taken?
The technique for capturing digital radiographs is similar to that of the traditional-style radiographs, but the digital variety uses a small electronic sensor to capture intraoral images, as opposed to film bitewings.
The two standard views dentists use are: periapical and bitewing.
The periapical view is used to inspect the root tips for decay, disease or damage, while the bitewing view allows for close inspection and measurement of the mandible and maxilla (upper and lower jawbones).
After exposure, the digital image is either transferred wirelessly to a computer, or the dentist takes the plate from the mouth, and scans it with a specialized reader.
Panoramic radiographs (also known as Panorex®) are wraparound photographs of the face and teeth. They offer a view that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. Radiographs in general, expose hidden structures, such as wisdom teeth, reveal preliminary signs of cavities, and also show fractures and bone loss.
Panoramic X-rays are extraoral and simple to perform. Usually, dental X-rays involve the film being placed inside the mouth, but panoramic film is hidden inside a mechanism that rotates around the outside of the head.
Unlike bitewing X-rays that need to be taken every few years, panoramic X-rays are generally only taken on an as-needed basis. A panoramic X-ray is not conducted to give a detailed view of each tooth, but rather to provide a better view of the sinus areas, nasal areas and mandibular nerve.
Panoramic X-rays are extremely versatile in dentistry, and are used to:
Assess patients with an extreme gag reflex.
Evaluate the progression of TMJ.
Expose cysts and abnormalities.
Expose impacted teeth.
Expose jawbone fractures.
Reveal gum disease and cavities.