Dental x-rays are an important tool for dentists to track your oral health and identify potential issues, like the spreading of gum disease
X-Rays: From Film to Digital
Dental x-rays have traditionally been performed using film, and this system has been in use for decades. The shift from film x-rays to digital x-rays brought with it a lot of benefits, for both the patient and the dentist!
Instant results. Digital x-rays are viewable within seconds, versus the time it can take to develop results from a traditional film x-ray.
Significantly lower radiation exposure. Digital x-rays can result in up to 70-80% lower doses of radiation versus film. Remember, even film x-rays are safe, so this significant decrease is great news for anyone still worried about the effects of radiation exposure.
Easier to examine. Digital photography is easy to pull up on a large screen, zoom in, and even adjust. Sometimes shifts in brightness or contrast can help your dental health professional identify underlying issues that would not be feasible with film-based x-rays.
Easier to archive. Digital records are far easier to access and backup. It’s much less likely to lose older x-rays, which can reduce the frequency you need x-rayed and makes it easier for dentists to compare your x-rays over time.
Environmentally-friendly. Digital x-rays don’t require using chemicals for development or film, so they can be completed with fewer materials and waste.
Ultimately, digital x-rays offer significant improvements over film-based x-rays. That’s not to say film x-rays have lost their place, though. You’re just as likely to find film x-ray machines as you are to find digital ones at the dentist. Digital offers a lot of convenience, but film x-ray machines still do their job just fine!
What Are Panoramic X-Rays?
Panoramic x-rays, also known as panoramic radiography, are a specific type of x-ray that is done entirely outside of the mouth. While many patient x-rays are designed to help identify cavities and other conditions in the mouth, sometimes it’s necessary to take a larger image of the entire mouth at once with a panoramic x-ray. This is used to spot problems such as bone abnormalities, issues with tooth positioning, or oral cancer.
In addition to offering your dentist a full picture of your mouth at once, panoramic x-rays come with a host of benefits. For one, the machines for these types of x-rays are much less invasive. They do not require the patient to bite down on anything, nor do they require multiple x-rays, allowing them to be completed quickly. Panoramic x-rays are also good for children for the same reason, as all they’re required to do is remain still for just a few seconds. Radiation dosage can be lower as well, since these types of x-rays are done once instead of needing multiple angles.