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Dentltown Magazine Feature October 2014 Dentist Slave Lake
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Dental X-rays are a useful diagnostic tool when helping your dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam.  Dental X-rays are pictures of the teeth, bones, and soft tissues around them to help find problems with the teeth, mouth, and jaw. X-ray pictures can show cavities, hidden dental structures (such as wisdom teeth), and bone loss that cannot be seen during a visual examination. Dental X-rays may also be done as follow-up after dental treatments.

Dental Cone Beam 3D CT

A Cone Beam CT is a special type of x-ray equipment used when regular dental facial x-rays are nto sufficient. Your dentist can use this technology to produce three dimensional (3D) images of your teeth, soft tissues, jaw, sinuses, nerve pathways and bone in a single scan.

Types Of Dental X-Rays

The following types of dental X-rays are commonly used:

  • Bitewing X-rays show the upper and lower back teeth in a single view. These X-rays are used to check for decay between the teeth and to show how well the upper and lower teeth line up. They also show bone loss when severe gum disease or a dental infection is present.

  • Periapical X-rays show the entire tooth, from the exposed crown to the end of the root and the bones that support the tooth. These X-rays are used to find dental problems below the gum line or in the jaw, such as impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts, tumors, and bone changes linked to some diseases.

  • Occlusal X-rays show the roof or floor of the mouth and are used to find extra teeth, teeth that have not yet broken through the gums, jaw fractures, a cleft in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate), cysts, abscesses, or growths. Occlusal X-rays may also be used to find a foreign object.

  • Panoramic X-rays show a broad view of the jaws, teeth, sinuses, nasal area, and temporomandibular (jaw) joints. These X-rays show problems such as impacted teeth, bone abnormalities, cysts, solid growths (tumors), infections, and fractures.

Why Use Digital Dental X-Rays?

Digital radiography is a form of X-ray imaging, where digital X-ray sensors are used instead of traditional photographic film. Advantages include time efficiency through bypassing chemical processing and the ability to digitally transfer and enhance images.

Digital Dental X-rays expose patients and staff to up to 90% less radiation than traditional film x-rays. Dental x-rays are one of the lowest radiation dose studies performed. A routine exam which includes 4 bite wings is about 0.005 mSv, which is less than one day of natural background radiation. It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure from a short airplane flight (~1-2 hrs).


Digital Dental X-rays also have the following additional benefits:


  • They are better for the environment because they don't require developing.

  • They can be viewed on a computer monitor within seconds of taking the image.

  • They can be enhanced and enlarged for better diagnostics.

  • They can be sent to other providers in an instant via email.

  • They can be placed in your electronic patient file for immediate retrieval.

Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, our team still takes necessary precautions to limit our patient's exposure to radiation. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary, and using lead apron shields to protect the body.

Slave Lake Dental exclusively uses digital imaging technology. Schedule an appointment today to find out what a difference digital imaging can make.

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