Dental X-ray

Dental X-Ray, its uses, and safety

Dental X-rays may be a practice that you may find a little uncomfortable. However, this practice is extremely helpful to dentists, as they show a broad picture of the state of the oral cavity, from the teeth to the jaw, or facial bones. In addition to seeing precisely what is going on inside your mouth, its function is to find any problems that may exist, in order to treat them.

Dental radiography uses X-rays, which is a type of radiation generated by electromagnetic waves. X-rays are projected by images that show the inside of the bony and bones. These images are black and white, as the body tissues have the ability to absorb the radioactive waves. A process occurs in which the bone calcium absorbs the radiation, which makes the images of the bones look white, on the other hand, the fat that is present in the tissues absorbs fewer X-rays, which makes them look black.

When you have an X-ray, you will be fitted with lead dental dentistry, so that your body absorbs as little radiation as possible, and protects your body in general.

X-rays can pass through dense objects, such as teeth or other bony structures.

X-rays are intended to find any problems in the bone or tissue structure that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The idea is that the specialist finds the problem before it is in an advanced stage, in order to act quickly and effectively.

X-rays directed especially to the teeth, allow the dentist to find the pathologies that may present the teeth or soft tissues of the mouth.

A great advantage of dental X-rays is that because they are so accurate, they allow the problem to be attacked before it is too late, allowing you to save a lot of money in the process.

It is advisable that people are not exposed to X-rays continuously, as it can cause disease, so it is recommended that it is done for a limited time, but everything also depends on each patient.

Dental X-rays help the dentist to have a comprehensive notion of the patient’s oral health and help to detect dental decay or abnormalities in the facial bones.

If you are pregnant, you should discuss it with your dentist because although it is not forbidden to use them at this stage. It is always good for the dentist to be aware of them.

Types of dental X-rays

X-rays are designed so that the specialist can have a clear notion of the patient’s soft tissues and bone structures. Exposure to radiation from dental x-rays is safe for people, however, it is advisable not to expose yourself for a long time, as there is always a risk, even if it is minimal.

When talking about dental X-rays, it is worth mentioning that there are several types, which serve to reveal different types of information about each patient. There are extraoral dental radiographs and intraoral dental radiographs.

Extraoral radiographs include orthopantomography, dental CT, and cephalometry.


Orthopantomography is a panopantomography performed routinely at the time the patient goes to the dentist for the first time. It consists of subjecting the patient to an X-ray apparatus, which shows a clear image of the patient, through electromagnetic waves. Orthopantomography allows the specialist dentist to detect dental decays, malformations, or damage to the easy, and mandibular bone structures, as well as to identify the dental roots and those teeth that have not yet erupted.

Dental CTA

The dental CT is a device that takes many pictures simultaneously at different angles, which allows a complete image of the oral cavity. The dental CT sends all these images to the computer, which will reproduce them in 3D (i.e., in three dimensions). This technique helps the dentist to observe the patient’s oral situation from all possible angles, which helps to have a clear perspective to know what to do.


Cephalometry is used when the patient is going to have orthodontics. It helps to know the situation of the facial and cranial bones, to be able to see if there is any kind of problem, and to be able to give a treatment to find a solution. Cephalometry is several procedures that help to measure the head and bone structures, as well as soft tissues. 

Intraoral radiographs take images directly inside the patient’s mouth and are used to detect oral decay or dental problems.

Intraoral radiographs are the periapical, which are used to see the general structure of the teeth. And the flipper/bite X-ray, which helps to get a full view of the dental crowns. This type of X-ray is normally used to evaluate dental caries.

What do dental X-rays detect in children and adults?

Dental X-rays in adults are useful to detect cavities that are not visible to the naked eye in a routine checkup, especially those that are in the space between one tooth and another. They help to see the condition of teeth that have dental fillings or dental crowns. They show facial and jaw bone statues and help detect bone loss, as well as show any bone changes due to infection. They help to give perspective of the mouth when the patient needs any type of dental prosthesis. In addition, dental X-rays are able to detect infections in the soft tissues of the mouth.

On the other hand, dental X-rays in children help detect any type of decay, in the teeth or bone structure, allow the dentist to see if there is enough space or not inside the oral cavity, show if the permanent teeth are going to erupt correctly, determine the status of wisdom teeth, and reveal any type of dental pathologies in general.

X-rays in children

Dental X-rays in children are very important when diagnosing any type of pathology in children since they offer a wide and complete view of the patient’s oral cavity, as well as showing the facial and maxillary bone structures. Dental X-rays in children help to find a problem, which will allow the dentist to find a quick and effective solution.

Dental X-rays in children help identify problems with crowded or misaligned teeth so that this problem can be treated with orthodontic braces. Although X-rays emit moderate amounts of radiation, it is important that they are used only when needed.

To avoid any problems due to radiation exposure, the child will be covered with shields that will cover those parts that do not need the electromagnetic waves. The dentist or radiologist will subject the child to radiation as little as possible.