Digital Dental Imaging: Modern Dental Teeth Scans | Elite Dental Group
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Digital Dental Radiology1 | Elite Dental Group

X-ray illustration of teeth

Digital Dental Imaging


Elite Dental uses only digital radiology systems. The digital radiology images or x-ray images are “developed” instantly with a scanner.


Digital dental x-rays require only about 50% of the radiation dose used for traditional film x-rays. The radiation exposure is very minimal. We are aware that some of you may have the belief that dental x-rays are potentially harmful and can even cause an increased risk of cancers such as thyroid cancer.



We have created the table below to help dispel some of the myths regarding the perceived “ high radiation” dosages of dental x-rays.



Procedure/source of exposureApproximate radiation doseComparable to natural environmental radiation for:*Additional lifetime risk of fatal cancer
CT Head Scan2 mSv8 monthsVery Low
Mammography0.4 mSv7 weeksVery Low
Chest X-ray0.1 mSv10 dayNegligible
Coast to coast flight in a commercial airplane0.03 mSv
2 bitewing + 2 periapical dental x-rays0.008 mSv1 dayNegligible
Panoramic X-ray0.007 mSv1 dayNegligible



According to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, the average person receives an effective dose of 3 millisieverts (mSv) per year from naturally occurring radioactive materials and cosmic radiation from outer space. Naturally occurring radioactive materials can be found in the air that we breathe in and the food that we eat. Cosmic radiation is that which we receive from the sun in the form of UVA/UVB wavelengths.



Why do I need to take dental X-rays?


X-rays are taken to detect underlying problems that cannot be seen just by looking into the mouth with the naked eye; for example, impacted wisdom teeth, bone loss due to gum disease, possible decay in between teeth and under old fillings, cysts and abscesses in the jaw etc.


Digital Dental Radiology2 | Elite Dental Group

 Illustration of tooth decay


It is our standard of care for new patients to undergo dental X-rays for a clear picture of your dental health, especially if you do not have any X-rays from your previous dentist. It is easy to miss problems if dental X-rays are not taken, especially when there are no complaints of pain or discomfort.



Some patients may even accuse the dentist of not being thorough in the check up if dental X-rays are not suggested. Early detection and treatment helps you to avoid emergencies and expensive dental work later on.



You may choose to skip x-rays if you are pregnant, or if you have had dental x-rays taken recently at another dental practice. Please provide any recent dental x-rays by email ahead of your appointment.


These are some of the different dental X-rays that your dentist may order:


Left and Right Bitewing xrays


Periapical X-ray (PA)


Periapical X-rays (PA)


A PA x-ray takes a full tooth picture from the very top of the tooth (crown) to the very tip of the root and its surrounding bone. This is essential for detecting infections around the roots and is an essential x-ray for detecting root canal infections.



Bitewing X-rays


Bitewing x-rays are taken to show the upper and lower molars (back teeth) and premolars (teeth in front of the molars). This is the best x-ray for detecting decay in between the back teeth.


Orthopantomogram (OPG)


Lat Ceph


Orthopantomogram (OPG)


An OPG is a panoramic X-ray of the lower face, which shows all the teeth of the upper and lower jaws, as well as the surrounding bony structures (both maxillary sinuses, the nose, the cervical spine and the entire lower jaw and both jaw joints).



Lateral Cephalometric Radiograph (Lat Ceph)


A Lateral Ceph is a side view X-ray of the face, which shows the bones of the skull, neck and the teeth in profile. Lateral Ceph X-rays are typically used in the diagnosis of orthodontic problems.




3D Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)


A 3D CBCT produces three dimensional (3-D) images of your teeth, maxillary sinuses, large nerves and bone in a single scan. Looking at these structures in 3-D can provide more spatial information beyond what a flat 2D x-ray would show, allowing us to plan in greater detail for more invasive and complex procedures. 3D CBCT scans are typically taken for wisdom teeth, dental implant and root canal related procedures.



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