Going to the dentist often involves your dental staff taking x-rays of your mouth. Your dentist takes x-rays so that he or she can see what is going on inside your teeth and gums. Your x-rays will show your dentist what cant be seen from outside.
Traditionally x-rays have required that the x-ray be developed, much like a photo in a photo lab, and then the x-rays were printed for your dentist to review. Your x-rays are stored with your dental records, usually in a paper file folder. If you change dentists, or need to see a dentist in another town, then your records could be moved from one dentist to another.
Benefits of Digital X-rays
In many of todays dental practices, dentists make use of new technologies and Digital X-rays are one of those new technologies you can expect your dentist to use. With a Digital X-ray, your dentist is able to create nearly instant Digital X-ray records without the use of developing equipment. And a Digital X-ray means less exposure to radiation than traditional x-rays.
With a Digital X-ray, your dentist can also store your x-ray records electronically, making it easier to call up your record in their computer database as well as transfer your x-rays electronically to a new dentist or one that you are visiting out of town.
With a Digital X-ray, your dentist can see teeth and bones that are hidden from view under the gums and in the soft tissues of the mouth. Your dentist is looking for healthy tooth root structures under the gums, and with their pediatric patients, your dentist is also looking for healthy adult tooth growth under the gums.
Your dentist may also be able to detect bone diseases with a Digital X-ray. The bones in our mouths are just as susceptible to bone diseases as the rest of our bodies and often the first step to diagnosing bone disease in the mouth or jaw may occur as a result of your dentist taking a Digital X-ray.
How Often Should Digital X-rays be Taken?
Not every dental visit requires x-rays and often as adults our dentists will recommend x-rays only once per year or when there has been a significant dental event, like the loss of a tooth or an injury or blow to the mouth.
For children, dentists often recommend taking a Digital X-ray more often than for adults. This is because childrens mouths are growing and changing quickly and your dentist wants to be sure to maintain a good view of whats going on inside your childs mouth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry generally recommends that your dentist take x-rays of your childs mouth at every six month dental visit or more often if your child is at a higher risk for tooth decay.
With todays emerging technologies, the use of a Digital X-ray in your dentists office may soon replace traditional x-rays altogether.