Types of Digital X-rays Used in Dentistry

In today’s world of ever-evolving technology, dental practices are starting to use digital X-rays on a regular basis. The digital radiography technique produces highly enhanced images of the teeth, the gums, and other structures in and around the mouth.

The digital X-rays are obtained in three different ways. These are direct, indirect, and semi-indirect.

Direct involves the placement of an electronic sensor in the mouth. Indirect utilizes a film scanner to view traditional-based X-rays as digital-based images.

The semi-indirect utilizes a sensor and a scanner to convert standard X-rays into film that is digital.

Generally speaking, there are two main categories of digital X-rays – intraoral (inside) and extraoral (outside).

In this guide, you will learn about the various types of intraoral and extraoral digital X-rays that may be taken when visiting a dental practitioner.

Intraoral Digital Dental X-rays

  • Periapical Digital X-rays – These types of X-rays have the capability of displaying the entire structure of the tooth, all the way to the supporting bone. These are ideal in identifying periodontitis, disease of the gums, and abscesses
  • Bitewing Digital X-rays – These digital dental X-rays display the upper and lower teeth, all at once. The patient bites down on the X-ray film in order for the picture to be created. These types of X-rays identify issues such as tooth decay, bone density issues, and may be used to help figure out the fit associated with crowns.

Extraoral Digital Dental X-rays

  • Cephalometric – These X-rays show the head, as a whole. This helps dental professionals to see the teeth in direct relation to the face and jaw. Most dental professionals use these types of X-rays to create a treatment plan for aligning the teeth.
  • Cone Beam Computerized Tomography – These digital dental X-rays take pictures in a three-dimensional manner. They are often utilized to determine if problems exist with the facial bones and to aid in extractions of the teeth that are considered to be challenging. Additionally, they may be utilized to help in the proper placement of dental implants.
  • Multi-slice Computerized Tomography – These X-rays take pictures in slices. Dental teams use these to see and evaluate mouth and facial structures that are – otherwise – very hard to see.
  • Panoramic – These types of dental digital X-rays use a machine that is designed to rotate around the head. This enables the dental team to evaluate all of the teeth and other components of the mouth in just one single picture. These aid in developing treatment plans for jaw problems, impacted teeth, and to identify problems, such as tumors in the mouth.
  • Sialography – These digital dental X-rays are utilized to identify complications associated with the salivary glands. A dye is injected into the glands for proper evaluation.


There are numerous advantages associated with digital-based X-rays in the dental industry. These include being able to identify issues that are unable to be found by the eye alone, the ability to instantly obtain results, being a greener alternative to traditional X-rays, and discovering and treating issues in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Digital X-rays are now provided with a comprehensive examination. Contact us today to schedule your X-rays: https://www.wichitaperiodontists.com/appointment-request-periodontist-wi

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