Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays or radiographs are special pictures which show cavities in the teeth and the bony structures around the teeth.

How do dental X-rays work? When X-rays pass through your mouth during a dental exam, more X-rays are absorbed by the denser parts (such as teeth and bone) than by soft tissues (such as cheeks and gums) before striking the film. This creates an image on the radiograph. Teeth appear lighter because fewer X-rays penetrate to reach the film. Cavities and gum disease appear darker because of more X-ray penetration. The interpretation of these X-rays allows the dentist to safely and accurately detect hidden abnormalities.

Bitewing x-rays are usually taken at dental check ups and show decay and when taken "vertically" as we do in our office show bone level around the teeth.

A complete set of x-rays consists of 24 individual films which show us the area around and under all of the teeth.

A panoramic x-ray is taken in a special machine of the entire jaws. It show the entire jaw areas but not in the detail of individual films. Areas that can't be seen in a complete set of x-rays can be seen such as wisdom teeth, sinuses and the joints.

Trans Cranial Radiographs are special x-rays of the Temporomandibular Joints and are used to survey the bony structure of the joint itself. It doesn't show the soft tissues which require an MRI to determine their health.

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Stuart A. Greene, DDS-FAGD
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