How Digital X-rays Have Revolutionized The Dental Experience

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How Digital X-rays Have Revolutionized The Dental Experience

Male dentist looking at dental X-rays on a computer monitor.

Traditional X-rays have been used to discover dental problems for many years, but as modern technology has advanced, so has the way we utilize X-rays in dentistry. Digital X-rays have become more and more common as a way to diagnose oral health needs in a faster and more comfortable way. One of the many perks of digital X-rays is that they emit 90% less radiation than traditional X-rays do, making them a fan favorite when it comes to dental work. Learn about the history of x-rays in dentistry and how digital X-rays have improved the diagnosis of oral health problems with this guide!


History of X-rays in Dentistry

Dentistry has been around for a long time, but as the need for images of the oral cavity emerged, technology was already beginning to find its resources to provide said images for doctors and dentists alike. X-rays were first discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Roentgen, and began their use in dentistry just a short while after. Within a year of their discovery, the first dental radiograph was made with glass photographic plates that were wrapped in black paper and enclosed in a rubber material for patients to hold in their mouths. By 1903, the first dental X-ray lab was opened in the United States and ten years later, the first hand-wrapped X-ray film was commercialized. It wasn’t until 1948 that panoramic radiography was used in dentistry, and it took forty years for intraoral digital radiography to become public. By this point, various speed films were already in use across the U.S. along with dental xeroradiography, where the image was recorded on paper rather than on a film. As we entered 1990, dental tomography scanners were introduced, and by 2001, cone beam CT scanners were available. These scanners were vitally important during this time because they rendered a 3D image of teeth, soft tissues and bone in a single scan, making oral health issues easily identifiable. Since then, modern technology has only improved the dental field, especially in the case of digital X-rays.  


Common Types of Dental X-rays

Dental X-rays have come a long way since the late 1800s, and now there are multiple types available to detect all types of dental issues. These X-rays are commonly taken during regular dental checkups and help the dentist identify any underlying problems that you may unknowingly be experiencing. There are four main types of dental X-rays that can be used, and each has its own specific purpose. First, a periapical X-ray provides a view of the entire tooth, including both the crown and bone that support each individual tooth as a whole. A bitewing X-ray shows how teeth touch each other and produces an image of both the lower and upper posterior teeth. Next, an occlusal X-ray captures the floor of the mouth to identify any extra or hidden teeth below the gum line. The fourth type of X-ray is a panoramic, which is usually taken for orthodontic patients and shows a view of the teeth, jaw joints, sinuses and nasal area. Depending on your needs, you might have one or more of these X-rays performed to monitor your teeth movement. 


Pros of Digital X-raysFemale patient sitting in dental chair while a handheld X-ray device is being used by a dental assistant.

Although conventional X-rays have been around for years and have a great reputation for identifying dental issues, digital X-rays are becoming more and more popular among dentists and patients alike for their ease and safety. Digital X-rays are typically performed with a hand-held device that diagnoses oral health needs more accurately than conventional X-rays and are more comfortable for the patient. Digital X-ray devices can capture images of your teeth, jaw bones and roots below the gum line just as easily as conventional X-rays, but are much faster. Images from these devices are immediately transferred to a computer system and can be manipulated by the dentist to zoom in or out on an area of your mouth to better explain what is going on in the image. They are essential when looking for bone destruction, tooth decay and dental injuries, plus they aid in creating a treatment plan for patients who need restorative dental care. That’s not the best part of it, though-digital X-rays emit 90% less radiation than traditional X-rays, making them a much safer option for all patients. That, along with their improved speed and accuracy, make them the perfect resource to detect dental problems early on and monitor oral health. 


Prepare For Your Next Dental Checkup With Our Help!

At Mountain Aire Dentistry, Dr. Berry and his staff are dedicated to your family’s oral health needs and use the latest digital technology to safely and accurately identify any dental conditions you may be experiencing. Call our office today at (303) 731-7755 to schedule your next dental checkup and see the effectiveness of digital X-ray technology in practice!

291 E Flatiron Crossing Dr,
Broomfield, CO 80021

(303) 731-7755


When you visit our Broomfield dental office, your smile is our top priority. Our Dentists invite you to experience the difference a warm and caring team can provide for you and your family. Enjoy a unique and comfortable dental experience designed to bring a healthier and happier smile back into your life. We invite you to call or visit our Broomfield dental office and discover the exceptional difference we offer to those we serve.

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