Digital X-rays

How Are Digital Dental X-ray Images Made?

Digital imaging uses an x-ray machine like that used for traditional dental x-ray images made with film. But instead of using film in a plastic holder, digital images are made using a small electronic sensor that is placed in your mouth to capture the x-ray image.

Why Do We Take Digital X-ray Images?

There are many benefits to using digital dental x-ray images:

  • Digital images can be viewed on a computer screen right away. Traditional x-ray films must be processed in hazardous chemicals by one of our staff members.

  • Digital images can be enlarged and enhanced for better viewing for Drs. Schlaht & Stone and you. Traditional x-ray film can only be viewed in the actual size without any enhancements.

  • Digital x-ray images may require less radiation.

  • Digital x-rays are environmentally friendly. They eliminate the need for film and film processing chemicals.

  • Digital x-ray images can be sent electronically to insurance companies, which may help claims get processed faster. They can also be printed.

Why Are Dental X-rays Needed?

Many diseases of the oral cavity (which includes the teeth and surrounding tissues and bone) cannot be seen when the dentist examines your mouth. An x-ray exam may help the dentist see:

  • Small areas of decay between the teeth or below fillings

  • Bone damage from a tooth infection (such as an abscess) or a cyst

  • Bone loss due to periodontal (gum) disease

  • Developmental defects

  • Some types of tumors

  • The effects of trauma

  • The position of unerupted teeth in children and adults

Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and unneeded discomfort and help prevent more serious health problems. X-ray images may be able to help the dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam.*

Are Dental X-rays Safe?

Dental x-ray exams require very low levels of radiation exposure, which makes the risk of potentially harmful effects very small. A set of bitewing x-ray images creates only a small fraction of the radiation you are exposed to when flying on an airplane.*

Dental x-ray tools and techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation. Our office takes steps to limit the area exposed during your dental x-ray exam, including:

  • limiting the size of the x-ray beam to the size of the film sensor being used

  • using a leaded apron and thyroid shield that x-rays cannot pass through

If you have further questions, please call and speak to one of our office staff.

*Used by permission American Dental Association