Why Dental X-Rays | Delmarva Dental Services

Why Dental X-Rays

Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential to the prevention and treatment of disease. Without them much un-necessary pain and suffering, cost and loss of function would occur. Delmarva Dental Services is aware of your concerns and have provided you with this and other information (see “Radiation Exposure”).There are several routine radiographic views used in dentistry; the individual pericapical, bitewing, full mouth series, and panographic. There are also several special views that are sometimes used; occlusal, 3D CBCT, TMJ and cephalometric. These views can be film based or digital. Delmarva Dental Services uses only digital which uses about 1/3 less radiation.The pericapical radiographic is a two dimensional slice view of one to three teeth. It is used to look at root length, and abscesses but not the most informative for cavity detection.
The bitewing radiograph is a two dimensional slice view used to detect cavities between the teeth and assess the bone height that supports the teeth. Each view shows two to four upper teeth and two to four lower teeth.
A full series of radiographs usually consists of 18 to 20 images, 4 bitewings of the back teeth and 14 to 16 periapicals. It is usually taken initially and every 5 years.

A panograph is a 2 dimensional view of all the teeth, jaw bone, jaw joint, and sinuses. It is used to evaluate erupting teeth in children, cysts in the jaw, wisdom teeth, and fractured jaws. It is usually taken initially and once every 3 to 5 years.

A 3D CBCT (cone beam computerized tomogram) are digital three dimensional views of sections of the teeth or entire jaw. Unlike the previously described x-rays which shows views in the up-down, left-right dimension, the 3D shows depth. It is like a graph you not only see the “x” and “y” axis but the “z” axis as well. Another example would be a loaf of bread. The bitewing and periapical x-ray are like a slice of the loaf. The panographic is like a slice of the loaf long ways. The 3D CBCT shows all the slices in every direction which can be viewed individually and in combination.

A cephalometric radiograph is used to determine the growth and development of the head, jaw and face for orthodontics.