Digital x-rays

X-rays are the only way to detect problems within tissue that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Digital images are a very useful tool, in addition to being safe and precise. They are used to determine optimal, personalized treatments plans, and enable the dentist to assess your oral health from all angles. Early treatments can thus be initiated to prevent further oral health problems.

While exposure to radiation remains a concern today, one of the main advantages of digital x-rays is that they require only one-third of the radiation needed with traditional x-rays1.

The many advantages of digital x-rays

  • Significantly less radiation than with standard x-rays
  • Faster results
  • Very precise diagnosis
  • Eco-friendly technology: no toxic solution is needed to develop the images, less toxic waste produced
  • Can be quickly sent to insurance companies and other professionals

How often should x-rays be taken?

During a check-up, the dentist looks for early signs of oral health problems. This is one of the reasons why seeing your dentist once or twice a year is such a good idea. Your dentist can recommend how often you should schedule a check-up, depending on how susceptible you are to developing cavities.

Many factors can affect your oral health. Lifestyle, nutrition, smoking, gum disease and overall health play a part in determining the frequency of your x-rays. Whatever it may be, it will be adapted to your needs with respect to prevention and treatments.

What do x-rays check for?

  • Cavities
  • Jawbone mass
  • Progress of gum disease
  • Abscesses, cysts or tumours
  • Development and exact location of teeth

Digital x-ray risks:

Although this type of x-ray is a much weaker source of radiation than traditional x-rays, you’ll still need to wear a lead apron to protect your reproductive system and thyroid gland.

For pregnant patients, or those undergoing radiotherapy, there is no medical contraindication for having x-rays taken. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the foetus won’t be harmed by the x-rays.
Nonetheless, we don’t recommend repeated exposure to x-rays while pregnant.

Types of x-rays

Bite-wing x-rays:

Used on adults and children, depending on their age and medical and dental condition.

This type of x-ray enables to:

  • Detect interdental cavities and cavities that cannot be seen with the naked eye
  • Assess dental fractures and restoration seals
  • Assess the condition of the bone supporting the teeth

Periapical x-rays:

Mainly used to check the condition of dental roots and the supporting bone by isolating a group of teeth (upper or lower) for a more precise diagnosis.

This type of x-ray enables to:

  • Assess dental root fractures
  • Check for infection at the root tips
  • Check the healing progress of a root canal
  • Check the condition of dental implants

Panoramic x-rays:

Used to assess the condition of teeth and the lower bone structure. Thanks to its extended range, this x-ray enables the dentist to see the entire dental structure. A panoramic x-ray is generally taken on children aged seven to ten. For adults, it may be used depending on the patient’s history.

This type of x-ray enables to:

  • Assess the position of impacted teeth
  • Assess jawbone and joints
  • Assess maxillary sinuses
  • Check for sinus or bone cysts and cancerous tumours
  • Assess the position and number of teeth in development (children)
  • Assess the development, position and eruption of wisdom teeth
  • Detect jaw fractures and infections
  • Check the healing progress of an extraction site

Did you know?

We’re all subjected to radiation sources, whether natural or artificial. Natural radiation comes from space and naturally occurring radioactive elements, such as radon, radium, uranium and irradiated foods. On an annual basis, it represents 81% of the total radiation human beings are exposed to.
Artificial radiation mainly comes from medical and dental radiographic diagnoses. The main sources are nuclear medicine examinations and consumer products, such as television, microwave oven, clocks, phosphorescent products and smoke detectors. This type of radiation only represents 19% of our total radiation. Dental x-rays represent 3% of artificial radiation.
Your dentist will make sure to schedule x-rays according to your oral health.

Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, December 2003, Vol. 69, No. 11,, p.6.