What Is a Digital X-ray for Your Teeth?

When it comes to the health of your teeth, you must provide them with the exact attention you pay to all other organs. Prevention, including regular seeing the dentist, is necessary to avoid some methods that no one likes. Pain, discomfort, and not having a clue about what a dentist does in your mouth, are just some of the things why people have a fear of dental checkup.

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Dentists know about this fear, and they strive to make the checkup as comfortable as possible, to be highly professional, and to not ‘torture’ you. In order to perform specific interventions in patients, dentists have to do thorough mouth checks using X-rays.

Why Dental Experts Need Your X-Ray

Dental radiography helps to identify possible diseases of the tooth and surrounding bone that doctors can’t see with the naked eye. A shot of your jaw and tooth is expertly called radiographs and represent images used for the evaluation of your oral health.

An X-ray image that is hazy or imprecise is not helpful. The dentist can’t make a diagnosis nor start the treatment based on poor radiography. That is why you need to perform this type of diagnostics exclusively at reputable dental clinics. You could ask someone you know for recommendations, or if you need more information on where to start your search, click here.

The technology used in modern diagnostics is based on digital X-rays. It is slowly but surely replacing the traditional photographic x-ray method. The use of film for getting dental shots is replaced with computers and sensors to make recordings. Thus, this procedure is faster and gives images of higher quality (in high resolution), without the need for repetition.

How to Prepare for ‘Dental Shot’

Digital radiography has no confirmed contraindications and generally requires no special preparation (except for basic dental hygiene). However, some precautions are necessary; it’s still a form of radiation. Patients who have recently undergone X-ray imaging of any body part before should note this to their dentists.

Also, be sure to tell the dental expert if you are – or suspect you might be – pregnant. In this case, you should do a dental X-ray only after giving birth to keep your baby completely safe. However, if the radiography is necessary, the technicians will make an extra effort to protect you. They will put you an extra lead apron, which will protect the fetus from radiation.

Procedure Explanation

Patients usually undergo X-rays so that their dentists can identify problems such as tooth decay, inflammatory processes, but also everything that happens inside the tooth and jaw. That is something you’ll do if you’re a new dental patient and don’t have previous X-rays especially if you are looking forward to treating your malpositioned teeth and jaws. If ever you want to get a great dental treatment, we highly recommend you to please visit this orthodontist in Washington DC and they would be happy to assist you with all your needs.

For X-ray diagnostics, there is usually a separate room in the clinic, although it can also be performed directly in the dentist’s office. The technician gives you a lead vest that should cover your body (usually chest and shoulders). Depending on the X-ray method, the procedure for making dental images will vary.

The direct method requires the use of a sensor mentioned above. The technician will put this device into your mouth to take a direct shot of the jaw. The sensor sends images to a connected computer, and radiographs are immediately available on-screen, for printing or forwarding to e-mail. It can also be done using a scanner (like in the traditional X-ray method), or a combination of a scanner and a sensor.

Types of Dental X-ray Images

Dental X-ray Images

The higher quality of dental imaging is achieved with the help of digital sensors. They create a large number of shots from all angles, which are then computer-assembled into a single radiograph. If necessary, the technician will adjust, resize, enlarge, or minimize the image.

The type of X-ray dentists are looking for depends on what exactly they want to diagnose. Diagnostics can be done by internal or external imaging. If the problems are teeth and the processes located between them or in the jaw, a bite-wing shot should be taken. The patient bites the sensor, with the whole jaw, or just a specific part (for imaging one or two teeth).

On the page below, see how to recognize tooth decay on X-ray shot:


The second intraoral method is the periapical view and is most commonly used for gum or teeth nerve problems. Panoramic and occlusal views are types of extraoral imaging which dental experts will ask for if they suspect some jawbone deformities or changes on bone structure. The panoramic shot is more precise and detailed, and in addition to dentistry, it is used in ORL practice.

Safety Issue

This diagnostic found its application in many clinics around the world, as dental experts are taking advantage of the new technologies used in dentistry. If you have not had any experience with digital dental X-ray so far, you have the absolute right to inquire about anything that interests you.

Dental imaging is a short and painless procedure. X-rays are the type of ionizing radiation, which means that they are electrically charged and electromagnetically active. They are used in medicine for getting a picture of bone structures because they pass through tissues without being absorbed in them.

People think of radiation as something harmful, and they are right.  But with the implementation of digital technologies, the adversity of radiography is minimal. The radiation used in this case is dosed and proven to cause no side effects if both technicians and patients adhere to the rules of safe dental imaging and the frequency of imaging.

If the dentists tell patients that dental radiography is necessary, it means that they want to have an insight into what is happening in their mouths. Some hidden issues like the appearance of a cavity between teeth or the deformity of the root are not possible to observe with a routine examination. As things in your mouth can change, you should always have a ‘fresh’ X-ray image (not older than six months).