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How Digital X-rays used in Dentistry

Digital x-rays help diagnose cavities and other dental problems.

Many problems and diseases can affect a person’s dental health. Many of these problems can turn into more severe issues if they are not treated in time.

To detect possible problems that could arise in your teeth, gums, and mouth, a dentist examines the oral cavity. However, sometimes a simple revision may not be enough, so the dentist should resort to other diagnostic procedures.

One of the resources that have helped medicine to detect health problems has been x-rays. X-rays have long been applied to dentistry to help dentists diagnose dental problems early, so they can treat these problems before they can cause severe damage.

Conventional x-rays used to be done by inserting paper tabs into the mouth, which were very uncomfortable. But thanks to advances in technology, we now have an improved version: digital x-rays.

What are digital x-rays?

X-rays are a type of electromagnetic energy that penetrates the body and generates a detailed image. Traditionally, X-rays used to be taken using film, whereas it is now possible to digitally obtain the images.

The x-rays pass through the soft tissues (gums, cheeks, and tongue) and are absorbed by the dense tissues (teeth and bone), generating the image.

What are digital x-rays used for in dentistry?

Digital x-rays are one of the best and most advanced tools in dentistry.

By taking a detailed image of tooth structures, it is possible to observe potential dental health risks. Digital X-rays help dentists to:

  • Find cavities
  • Observe and determine the health of the jaw bone
  • Observe the roots of the teeth
  • Determine signs of possible periodontal disease
  • Monitor tooth development
  • Find cysts, abscesses, and tumors
  • Observe cracks or small fractures in the teeth

Types of dental digital x-rays

The two main types of dental radiographs are intraoral and extraoral. Intraoral digital x-rays are taken from inside the mouth, while extraoral ones are taken from outside the mouth.

At the same time, these two types of X-rays comprise another subset of dental X-rays:

  • Periapical X-ray: This type of X-ray allows you to see an entire tooth, from the crown to the bone that supports it.
  • Bitewing X-rays: These provide an image of the posterior teeth, both upper and lower, and allow the dentist to observe how the teeth touch each other. It also determines if there are cavities in the molars.
  • Panoramic X-ray: this type of X-ray allows you to see the teeth, jaws, nasal area, sinuses, and jaw joints. It is usually done to determine if a patient needs orthodontic treatment or dental implants.
  • Occlusal X-ray: This type of intraoral X-ray allows visualizing the upper or lower teeth and thus helping to observe the development of baby teeth in children or permanent teeth in adults.

How is a digital dental x-ray taken?

This procedure is done during a routine visit to the dentist. Before starting, the dentist puts a lead vest on the patient to protect the rest of the body from radiation. The dentist then inserts a small plastic appliance into the patient’s mouth (the patient will have to chew on the instrument to keep it in place). This device will allow the dentist to obtain the necessary digital images.


Digital x-rays are undoubtedly one of the most advanced diagnostic and prevention of dental problems procedures. Digital dental X-rays offer the following benefits:

  • Speed ​​and quality: digital images are obtained quickly and offer quality superior to traditional radiographs. Also, the pictures’ high definition and quality allow them to be enlarged and edited to improve brightness and contrast to obtain the best possible image.
  • Less radiation and less environmental impact: digital X-rays produce 80% less radiation than conventional X-rays and eliminate polluting materials (lead and chemicals) used in traditional X-rays.

Besides, digital dental radiographs facilitate the transmission of the images obtained since they are saved in digital files that can be sent to the patient and viewed on a PC or a Smartphone.


Digital X-rays are very safe and do not pose significant risks. However, even though digital X-rays produce much less radiation than traditional X-rays, it is always a good idea to wear a lead vest to avoid exposing the rest of the body to radiation.

Also, it is advisable that pregnant women not have x-rays taken unless strictly necessary.

As you can see, digital x-rays are a very useful tool in the early diagnosis of diseases and dental health problems.

At FRESHDental, we have the most qualified dentists and the most advanced technological procedures to provide the best diagnosis and prevention services for dental problems and diseases. If you are looking for the best place to receive quality care at the best prices, our dental practice in Charlotte, NC, is the right place for you. Visit us!