Digital Radiography (CDR)
Dental X-rays can now be taken using sensors that transmit
the image directly into a computer monitor. This larger image
helps the patient understand the doctor's explanations more
easily and enables the doctor to "zoom in" on a
specific area of the tooth. An important advantage to this
new technology is that it reduces the amount of radiation
by 90%. Digital X-rays are also faster. The digital image
only takes 20 seconds to appear in the monitor. In addition,
this new technology is friendly to the environment since no
chemicals are needed for developing the image.
are Dental X-rays?
What most people call X-rays are actually X-ray photographs
(also known as radiographs). An image is made using X-rays,
which are similar to sunlight, but of a shorter wavelength,
and able to show us what's below the surface of a tooth. Even
though we call them X-rays, we are actually referring to the
image created by X-rays.
Why are Dental X-rays Necessary?
X-rays are the only way to identify problems that aren't
externally visible. X-rays are very essential in doing a complete
and thorough dental examination. They are especially important
in diagnosing serious conditions early to allow for effective
treatment before you experience discomfort. X-rays
show bone anatomy and density, decay
between the teeth or how extensive the decay is, whether an
abscess is present, impacted
teeth, or if children have permanent teeth.
No cavity on first X-ray.
Months later, cavities that start
between the teeth can't be seen by visual examination,
but they can be detected on an X-ray.
This cavity was detected and filled before the patient felt
any discomfort, and before the nerve became infected or the
tooth became abscessed.
There is another cavity shown in the X-ray on the right.
Can you find it? It's difficult for the untrained eye to spot.
Click here to see where it is. (Hint: It's not the
left edge of the top left tooth. That's just the edge of the
frame around the X-ray).
How Often Do I Need Dental X-rays?
The number and type of X-rays you will need depends on several
factors such as age, current dental health, and external signs
that may trigger a cause for concern. We are sensitive, however,
to your concerns about exposure to radiation, and we only
perform those X-ray procedures that are necessary for your
continued dental health.
Still Have Questions or Concerns?
If you have any questions or concerns about dental X-rays,
feel free to discuss them with any of our staff. They are
highly trained in the prudent and effective use of dental
X-rays and share your concerns about exposure levels.
*Source: British Journal of Radiology, 56,