Digital dental x-rays are a necessary tool for dentists so that they can find out whether or not the oral tissue is healthy or not. Dental x-rays are used together with a visual examination and they are designed to help keep gum tissue healthy, prevent problems in oral cavities and diagnose other issues, including caries.


Two types of dental x rays exist. First, there are the intraoral x-rays, which are absolutely vital in helping a dentist to find out whether or not any cavities are present and to find out what the overall health of the teeth’s roots and surrounding bone levels are. In many cases, a digital sensor is placed inside a patient’s mouth, and the x-ray is then taken and transmitted straight to a dentist’s computer, where they can examine it immediately. Then, there is the extraoral x-ray, which are usually only available in larger dentist clinics. These are panoramic in nature. They are designed to look at how teeth and jaw bone is developing. It also looks at whether there are any third molars and, if so, where they are, and it is a vital tool in the diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues.

Patients can benefit tremendously from having a digital x-ray taken when they go to their dental appointment. While conventional film based options do still exist, digital models have far more benefits. One of the biggest benefits is that the image is available immediately, so that diagnosis and treatment can be done much quicker. If someone requires endodontic treatment, this is even more important as they will have to have multiple x-rays taken. During a root canal, the dentist has to establish the file and fill lengths that are required, and multiple images that are available immediately will help greatly with that. Plus, taking digital pictures means that there is far less exposure to radiation. While the levels of radiation for x-rays are low anyway, some people do worry about this. Also, the image itself can easily be manipulated through contrasting techniques. This will show the dentist and their patient just what to expect from a certain type of treatment. Finally, by taking digital images, they can quickly be shared between different dental offices.

Whether or not someone needs to have an x-ray taken and, if so, how often, depends on their individual clinical history and overall health. When a new patients comes into a practice, they will usually have an x-ray taken to see what the starting point is. This can then be used to compare how oral health has changed over time and how it has responded to treatment. The dentist will then decide how often new x-rays need to be taken following that first one, although it will usually be every time a treatment that could affect the structure of the oral cavity has been completed.

The dental x-ray, digital or not, really is an essential tool for dentists in terms of offering the best kind of treatment.