What exactly are Digital X-rays?
Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry has invested in Digital X-ray technology in all of our operatories using some of the latest technology. Digital X-rays allow us to see parts of your mouth that are not visible during a routine checkup.
Digital X-rays are safer for patients due to the reduced amount of radiation patients are exposed to when taking images of the mouth. Digital X-rays also have the advantage of showing up right away in our dental management software. This allows our Dentists to quickly view high-resolution images of your digital x-rays in our treatment rooms, where we can have a discussion during your consultation.
Digital X-ray technology allows for more accurate diagnoses due to the clarity of the image and the tools available within our imaging software (i.e. enhanced contrast, zooming, etc). This in turn allows us to make more accurate diagnoses and build effective treatment plans.
Are Digital X-Rays safe?
Digital X-rays provide approximately 80% less radiation than a standard X-ray. A single digital x-ray produces about as much radiation as you would normally be subjected to during a typical day. Our special panorex bitewing x-rays allow us to see in between all of the teeth in your mouth, and give information that is invaluable regarding your child’s oral health for slightly more exposure than a single intraoral x-ray.
The types of Digital X-rays
We use different types of digital x-ray equipment to take pictures from both the outside of your mouth (extraoral) and inside of your mouth (intraoral). The type of x-ray recommended is chosen according to what we are trying to achieve.
The most common types of x-rays we take are:
Bite-wing X-rays: These are the most common x-rays taken, and we have two options in taking them. One option it that a small pediatric sensor is inserted into the patient’s mouth and aligned with the digital x-ray machine. These types of x-rays provide great detail on specific sections of the mouth. A second option makes x-rays possible for patient who struggle with x-rays in their mouths, and also provide a wealth of information! Our panorex bitewings allow us to visualize in between each tooth, while also showing wisdom teeth, impacted teeth and any anomalies that might be present. Bitewing x-rays are the best tool for determining if a patient has cavities.
Periapical X-rays: These x-rays capture the entire tooth, from the top (the crown) to the bottom (the root) and are excellent in detecting unusual changes in bone structure and in the tooth itself.
Panoramic X-rays: Our extraoral Planmeca® panorex machine takes wraparound images of your face and teeth giving us a comprehensive look at your smile and structure. These are done most often with orthodontics and are great tools for diagnosing dental issues.
When are digital x-rays required?
The need for x-rays truly depends on your child’s individual oral health care needs. The AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) recommendations guide our decision-making when it comes to the timeliness of x-rays. Our dentist will often recommend x-rays if they need to get a better look at areas that cannot be seen during a visual examination and to check for developmental issues that cannot be seen with the naked eye. These decisions are made while considering your child’s complete dental history.
For New Patients
While young children with spaces between all of their teeth do not generally require an x-ray at their first visit, those patients that have their permanent molars present can expect that x-rays will be recommended. This allows us to develop a complete understanding of any dental issues that may be present, and is a great tool for creating a baseline history of your child’s oral health. Very often, we refer to previous x-rays to determine if an area of interest has changed from previous x-rays.
If you are transferring to our office from another practice, should be able to request that your digital x-rays be transferred to us. The age of the previously taken x-rays and quality of the image will be considered, but we will use recently taken x-rays whenever possible.
For Existing Patients
For existing patients, a routine digital x-ray called a bitewing is typically sufficient on an annual or semiannual basis, depending on your child’s complete dental history. This information is often obtained using our very patient-friendly pan-bitewing machine. Any abnormalities can be compared to previous x-rays, and we are able to see cavities, orthodontic, and development issues early on to determine if any issues are developing. Digital x-ray technology allows for clearer interpretation and diagnostics.
To schedule an appointment, or learn more about digital x-rays, please call Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry at (718) 761-7316.