Dental X-Ray

Dental radiography was first performed on January 1896 by Otto Walkoff of Germany. However, it was on February of the same year when a physicist named Walter Konig was able to perform a more refined technique that produced a clearer dental image.

Dental x-rays provide images showing the condition of the patient’s teeth including the roots and hidden dental structures such as wisdom tooth. It is basically utilized to evaluate problems in the mouth like tooth decay, dental abscesses, broken tooth roots, condition of fillings, crowns, bridges and root canals. Moreover, it is also performed to plan orthodontic treatments.

Although dental x-rays utilize ionizing radiation, the dosage of radiation that the patient receives is relatively small compared to those from other medical procedures and environmental sources. It is the goal of dental radiography to obtain diagnostic information while keeping the radiation exposure to the patient at a minimum. Also, the use of high-speed films and lead apron to cover the patient can further decrease the amount of radiation. It is usually taken at the dental clinic, with the process completed in about 10 to 15 minutes. Oral structures attenuate xray photons differently depending on the anatomical density. That is, the denser the tissue, the whiter the image. Teeth appear white because of less x-ray penetration while dental caries and abscesses appear darker.

There are various views that can be performed which can be an intraoral or extraoral type. For intraoral views, these include the following:

Occlusal view
To evaluate the anatomy of the floor of the mouth and the palate

Bitewing view
To visualize the crowns of the posterior teeth and evaluate the height of the alveolar bone in relation to the cementoenamel junction

Periapical view
To evaluate both the anterior and posterior teeth including the tip of the roots

Full mouth series
This is a complete set of intraoral images composed of 18 films which include four (4) bitewings, eight (8) posterior periapicals and six (6) anterior periapical views

For the extraoral radiographic view, a panoramic film is obtained. This provides more extensive field of view that includes the mandible and the maxillary sinuses. However, it is not ideal for evaluation of tooth decay and bone loss.

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