Diagnosis and proper disease identification is very important. In order for the dentist to address the condition with much precision, he need to know that he is dealing with. The most basic diagnostic measure is visual inspection. Some problems are detected and identified when the dentist looks carefully at it; but when it is impossible for him to really see the problem he takes a radiographic image of the tooth or a given area in the mouth. Dental x-rays are unlike the x-rays ordered by your physician. The radiation levels emitted are low and there’s minimal exposure. The mouth is a small area and the structures not as complex; nevertheless, different types of dental x-rays are available.
The following are the different dental x-rays dentist use and prescribe for diagnosis and treatment:
- Periapical Radiograph: The most commonly used dental x-rays are the periapical radiographs and there is a standard size film and the pediatric-size film, which will fit into younger patients’ mouths. Periapical films take a more detailed image of the exposed area, so you can look into the condition of the teeth and the bone, more closely.
- Panoramic Radiograph: Panoramic dental x-rays take images of the entire oral cavity. The machine is much bigger than the periapical radiograph and to be able to take the image, a component of the equipment encircles the patient at 360 degrees so that a picture of all the teeth in occlusion may be taken, along with adjacent structures.
- Cephalometric Radiograph: The cephalometric or the cephalogram takes a lateral image of the head and neck, while in occlusion. This dental x-ray is useful for orthodontic treatments. The orthodontist traces the bony and soft tissue images reflected on the film to study growth patterns, which should help the dentist, designate a specific treatment plan for the patient’s condition.
- Bitewing Radiograph : A bitewing radiograph makes use of the periapical film. Using a holder, the image is taken while the patient’s teeth are occluded, so that a picture of the embrasure areas may be taken. These dental x-rays are good to detect proximal caries and presence of adherent plaque and tartar.
- Occlusal Radiograph: An occlusal radiograph takes an image of the upper or lower jaw from the top. This kind of dental x-ray is needed when the dentist wishes to determine the true position of a tooth or a pathology, whether buccal or lingual. When the dentist is not able to tell the position from visual inspection or other radiographs, an occlusal dental x-ray will give a more definitive picture.
- Hand and Wrist Radiograph : The hand and wrist x-ray helps to identify the age of a patient, as related to his bones. The spaces in between bones decrease as a person ages and continues to develop. The hand and wrist x-ray takes an image of that so that the dentist can make proper identification.
- Transcranial Radiograph : This is a specialized radiograph that takes an image of the temporomandibular joints in three views each. Three images are taken, three of each side; one while the patient is in maximum bite, at rest and with mouth open.
Depending on the need or the area in question, the dentist will be prescribing the need for these different radiograph, so that he may address the problem effectively.