Dental X-rays (also known as radiographs), are used as diagnostic tools during comprehensive exams. They check for infections, cavities, and abnormalities. Today with advanced technology they are commonly taken digitally.
Dental x-rays are generally recommended once a year, but can be as often as every 6 months depending on your level of risk. Please consult with your dentist to see what is best for you.
Dental Radiographs can be categorized into either extraoral (outside of the mouth) or intraoral (inside the mouth). The most common types of X-rays used in dentistry and at Clear Dental Studio are listed on our site.
Panoramic (Pano) – A panoramic x-ray is a two-dimensional view of your entire mouth. It shows the upper and lower jaw, teeth, sinus, nerve pathways, and bone structures.
Cone-beam computed tomography (CT)- A dental cone-beam x-ray is a three-dimension (3-D) view of the entire mouth or a section of it. It shows the upper and lower jaw, teeth, sinus, nerve pathways, and bone structures. It is able to show more details, depth and dimension compared to a panoramic x-ray.
Bite-wing (BW) – A bite-wing is an x-ray that shows both your upper and lower back teeth molars and bicuspids (teeth in front of your molars).
Periapical (PA) – A periapical x-ray shows the full length of a tooth
Full Mouth Series (FMX) – A FMX is a combination of bite-wings and periapical x-rays to show the full scope of your entire mouth. This is routinely done at a comprehensive first exam to rule out any infections around the roots of the teeth, cavities, bone levels, and any other abnormalities.
Generally, an FMX is taken every 3 years, while Bitewings and Periapical X-rays are taken yearly to confirm that there are no new lesions.
New and advanced technology has decreased levels of radiation dramatically, and the amount of radiation that you are exposed to during your dental visit is minimal. You are exposed to more radiation flying on a plane, talking on your cell phone, sun bathing, or even eating a banana!
Due to better technology the doses of radiation during the dental appointment are very low. At such low levels of radiation, the risk has little to no effect.
When breast feeding or pregnant, tests and x-rays may be done by your physician and dental x-rays are no different. With proper protection the dose is not significant enough to cause adverse effects. If X-rays determine that emergency dental treatment is needed, the recommendation is to perform treatment during the second trimester.