Digital X-Rays and Intraoral Cameras
Diagnostic imaging is an important part of your examination. Whether we are using an intraoral camera to get a closer look at the inside of your mouth or looking at x-rays to see beneath the surface of your soft tissue and teeth, these services will allow us to determine your current level of dental health and plan any necessary treatment.
Digital Dental X-Rays
X-rays are one of the most important diagnostic tools in the field of dentistry. While a visual examination can allow us to catch problems on the surface, disease often develops beneath the surface, out of sight. If we wait until the disease is visible, it may have progressed to the point where more invasive and extensive treatment is required. By catching the disease process as early as possible, we have the opportunity to provide conservative, simpler treatments.
We know that patients often have many questions about x-rays, and we want to make sure that we are able to address any concerns you may have. Safety is one of our top concerns, and this is one of the reasons why we’ve chosen to make the switch to digital x-rays.
Why Digital X-Rays?
Digital x-rays use up 90% less radiation than traditional film x-rays. It may help to know that traditional dental x-rays were already among the lowest sources of radiation in health care.
Like most medical procedures, we carefully consider risk vs. benefit when deciding whether to proceed. What we’ve found is that the benefits of detecting potential problems with digital x-rays far outweigh any potential risk.
We still take precautions to keep you safe. For example, we will still use lead aprons when we take x-rays, and we will avoid taking x-rays if you are pregnant. Your dentist will recommend a schedule for x-rays based on your current level of dental health.
Additional Benefits of Digital X-Rays
The safety of digital x-rays is obviously an important consideration, but the advantages don’t end there:
- Digital x-rays are available almost instantly. No more waiting for film to develop.
- Digital x-rays are viewed on a computer monitor, which means that we can zoom in, highlight areas, and even rotate the image to improve diagnostics and better educate you about our findings.
- Digital x-rays are stored in your electronic file. Not only does this save space within the office that we can put to better use, it also allows us to instantly pull up previous x-rays to track development and progression.
- Digital x-rays can be securely sent electronically to your insurance provider or a specialist when necessary.
- Because no chemicals are used to develop digital x-rays, they are better for the environment than traditional x-rays.
The Intraoral Camera
Think about all the features that your digital camera – or even your smartphone! – has. You can zoom in, crop, focus, and even rotate images to get a better view. The intraoral camera allows us to do all these things as well.
Using an intraoral camera, we can easily show you:
- Irritation in your gums that signals the beginnings of gum disease
- A cavity that needs filling
- Cracks or other damage that may lead to infection
- Signs that teeth or gums may be infected
- A suspicious lesion that may be precancerous
You’ll be able to see the problem for yourself and ask questions. We’ve found that patients who take an interest in their dental health and ask questions feel empowered, and this usually leads to better outcomes.
Advantages of the Intraoral Camera
Taking images with the intraoral camera has zero risk. It doesn’t use any radiation. The camera is small, about the size of a pen, and works almost instantly. There is no discomfort involved at all. In fact, it’s essentially the same as taking any other photo!
We can use these images for more than diagnosis and education. The images can be stored in your electronic file so that we can monitor development or changes in your dental health. If we’ve prescribed a treatment or a change in your dental routine, we can compare previous images to new images to get a good look at whether the treatment was successful. The camera is also a good way to see the effectiveness of a teeth whitening treatment.
Call Us to Learn More
We welcome your questions about the technology we use and the care we provide. Feel free to call our dental office for more information.