Digital X-Rays: An Inside Look Into What They Are and When They Are Used

Digital X-Rays: An Inside Look Into What They Are and When They Are Used

Nov 12, 2021

Ever since its incorporation in dentistry, X-ray technology has helped correct countless dental issues. X-rays have dramatically enhanced dental treatment and have improved the oral health of numerous patients. This is why radiography in the dental office has become a crucial part of dental checkups.

Our dentist in Highlands Ranch might use a digital X-ray to have a sneak peek of your jaws and teeth to help you maintain a healthy smile. Without the use of X-rays, many oral diseases and issues could go unnoticed during a physical checkup. They are an essential diagnostic tool that can be used to identify and diagnose various dental problems.

What Are Digital Dental X-Rays?

In a nutshell, digital x-rays, also known as dental radiographs, create images of your internal oral structures by emitting controlled radiation pulses. Digital dental X-rays employ the same principles as traditional X-rays. They use the natural contrast between the various structures within the mouth and the jaw to create the images.

For instance, when our cosmetic dentist near you takes an image of your mouth, the denser parts such as the teeth, crowns, fillings, and jawbone will show as the lighter parts of the image. The darker parts of the X-ray image represent the softer tissues. Also, cavities on an X-ray will be seen as less dense areas of your teeth.

When Are Digital Dental X-Rays Deemed Necessary?

As you may know, digital X-rays are an essential part of your dental visits. However, digital X-rays are not always necessary. But there comes a time when our dentist in Highlands Ranch advocates that you get images of your oral cavity taken.

In pediatric patients, digital x-rays are recommended when our dentist needs to:

  • Identify any developmental anomalies and irregularities such as tumors
  • Check for tooth decay
  • Determine whether there is enough room for permanent teeth to come in
  • Track how permanent teeth are replacing their baby teeth
  • Track the development of their third molars and ascertain whether they will erupt as they should or they be impacted

In adults, our dentist may recommend x-rays under the following circumstances:

  • To verify whether there is any bone loss that has occurred because of periodontitis
  • To check for small areas of decay that occur within the hard-to-brush regions, such as in between teeth
  • When getting ready for orthodontic treatment, such as getting Invisalign or metal braces
  • When preparing to undergo dental restorative treatment such as dental implants
  • To ascertain whether any changes have taken place in the root canal or jaw bone because of an infection
  • To help visualize particular oral diseases such as tooth abscess
  • To see whether there is tooth decay underneath a tooth filling

As much as dental X-rays are essential, they are not required during every dental visit. You may be asked to seek radiography in our dental office after every year or even two years.

However, the frequency of taking digital X-rays will depend on your current dental condition and health history. Digital

X-Rays vs Traditional X-Rays

Traditional X-rays paved the way for digital X-rays. In some ways, traditional X-rays are just like the old cameras that used films to capture the images. On the other hand, digital x-rays have sensors connected to a computer instead of a film.

Some people are concerned about X-rays because of the radiation exposure. However, radiation levels emitted by X-rays are safe if you receive them after a few months. Digital X-rays are safe and emit close to 80% less radiation than their predecessor.

The image produced by digital X-rays is of superior quality to traditional x-rays. The images are sharper since they use digital sensors, which create high-resolution images. Therefore, our dentist in Highlands Ranch can see even the tiniest detail that traditional x-rays would not capture.

After the images are taken, we have to consider how the images will be stored. Just like printed photos, films need lots of storage space. But with digital media, there is virtual storage, making it easier to share, store, and retrieve images.

Traditional X-rays also impact the environment since many chemicals are needed to develop the images. But digital x-rays don’t use films; therefore, there is no waste management problem. Digital x-rays are an excellent diagnostic tool. Contact us at Station Dental Group in Highlands Ranch for dental radiography and much more.

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