Digital Dental Radiography (X-Rays)

Jay Lopez, D.D.S. assures patients that the x-ray images in our office are safely and accurately made using the latest in digital x-ray technology. Patients are exposed to the smallest amount of radiation, and their digital images can be instantly viewed on a monitor and enlarged to help both us and you see them accurately.

“When a patient comes in for the first time, I review the patient’s medical and dental history, and based on this history recommend whether the patient should have x-rays now or sometime in the future,” says Dr. Lopez. “I explain why I am making my recommendation. I stay abreast of the latest scientific evidence and follow guidelines set by the American Dental Association and Food and Drug Administration for the safest frequency, type and number of x-rays, depending on the patient’s age, oral health risk factors, medical history, and the time passed since last x-rays were taken.

Dental x-rays are used to help find cavities, periodontal disease, abscesses, and abnormal growths. They aid in diagnosing the condition of the jaw joints and are essential for determining the exact position of tooth roots in the bone tissue.

Why have dental practices embraced digital x-ray technology, and why has Dr. Lopez invested in the best?

Digital X-rays are computer-generated images. These images require up to 90% less radiation than with conventional film type X-rays. The computer allows enlargement, highlighting, magnifying, inverting, clear viewing, color-coding and contrasting of X-ray photos for educational purposes and to detect dental concerns earlier to avoid costly procedures. These larger-enhanced images let you see what Dr. Lopez sees, so it’s easier for you to understand how he will treat your teeth.

We can store it on our computer files, saving paper. For insurance purposes, referrals or patient education, the image can be accurately reproduced any number of times. This new technology adds further benefits for our patients. We can detect cavities far better – sooner and smaller – than with the old system. This means that we can treat them sooner and the process will be easier for you, before the cavities seriously weaken the teeth. In summary, digital X-rays are faster and allow us to provide better quality care.

What are the different types of X-rays we can take in our own office?

There are multiple types listed below, and each serves a purpose. In addition to the following types of x-rays that are done in most dental offices, we also have 3D Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT). Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography is a special type of x-ray used in situations where regular dental or facial x-rays are not sufficient. The scanner used for this type of x-ray has special technology that generates three dimensional (3D) images of dental structures, soft tissues, nerve paths, and bone. Images obtained with CBCT allow more precise treatment planning. Dr. Lopez uses these routinely in the planning of dental implant treatment.

  • Bitewing: These show the crowns of several upper and lower teeth in one X-ray. This type of X-ray is especially useful for showing cavities between teeth and changes in bone caused by periodontal disease.
  • Periapical: This X-ray shows the entire tooth, including all the roots and surrounding tissues in one X-ray. These X-rays show many kinds of disorders, including impacted teeth, fractures, abscesses, cysts, and tumors.
  • Full-mouth series: This is a complete set of bitewing and periapical X-rays that show all the teeth, roots, and related areas of the jaws – 18 X-rays in total. This Full-mouth series is taken once every 3-5 years.
  • Panoramic: A panoramic view X-ray shows all the upper and lower teeth, large portions of the jaws and other structures in one large image. It does not generally show enough detail to be useful for detection of decay and bone loss from periodontal disease.
  • Cephlometric: An X-ray image of the profile or frontal view of the head is referred to as a “ceph” and is used to diagnose facial growth and to plan tooth movements prior to orthodontic treatment. This type of X-ray image is not normally available or utilized in most general dentistry offices. This type is especially helpful in planning and treating cases that are either more complex or in growing patients.