While dentists in New York, New Orleans, and Boston took dental x-rays of a patient in 1896 and independently developed equipment to facilitate the process. Dental x-rays help dentists visualize diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissue that cannot be seen with a simple oral exam. They also help the dentist find and treat dental problems early on, which can help you save money, unnecessary discomfort, and maybe even your life. This type of x-ray, often referred to as PA, takes a complete picture of the tooth from the top of the tooth (crown) to the tip of the root.
Periapical x-rays are usually taken when symptoms occur in a specific tooth or as a follow-up to a procedure. The dentist can help determine if there is an abscess, abnormalities in the surrounding bone structure, or deep cavities. Everyone who has been to the dentist has had dental x-rays at some point, either as part of their routine visit or to help diagnose a problem. While traditional x-rays captured these images on special papers, digital x-rays capture the image electronically on a nearby computer.
Conical beam technology represents the next step in dental imaging and is vital for planning dental implant treatment plans and diagnosing hard tissue disorders. If a dental hygienist is cleaning your teeth, the dentist may review the x-ray results after the cleaning is done. Along with regular exams and professional cleaning, regular dental x-rays are often a standard of care for maintaining oral health. While commercial dental x-ray equipment was available for sale as early as 1923, impediments to the early adoption of the technology included concerns about radiation exposure and electrocution, as well as the high cost of technology.
Exposure to all sources of radiation, such as the sun, minerals in the earth, household appliances and dental x-rays, can damage tissues and cells in the body and cause the development of cancer. Instead of showing X-ray film in a dark room, x-rays are sent directly to a computer and can be viewed on the screen, stored, or printed. Digital x-rays use the same principle as traditional x-rays: electromagnetic radiation is transmitted through a part of the body to capture an image of hard internal structures. Children may need to have dental x-rays more often than adults because their dentists may need to monitor the growth of their adult teeth.
First-visit x-rays are also used to compare them with X-rays taken over time to detect problems and unexpected changes. Advances in dentistry, such as X-ray machines that limit the radiation beam to a small area, high-speed x-rays, the use of lead-coated full-body aprons, and federal laws requiring precision and safety controls on X-ray machines are some of the improvements that limit the amount of radiation that patients receive. Like brushing your teeth and flossing your teeth, having regular dental x-rays is an integral part of your overall oral health. Along with digital technology, computing power has helped to further advance the diagnostic capabilities of dental x-rays.
A dental chart, also called a periodontal table, is where your dental health professional records the condition of your teeth and gums. .