A dental X-ray allows the dentist to see detailed images of specific portions of your mouth. While traditional X-ray film is developed in a darkroom, a newer technique allows X-ray images to be sent to a computer and viewed on a screen. The most common types of dental X-rays include:
- Bitewing – allows the dentist to see the crowns of the upper and lower teeth. During a bitewing X-ray, you’ll bite down on the X-ray film holder while the X-ray images are being taken.
- Periapical – allows the dentist to see the entire tooth and the surrounding bone.
- Occlusal – allows the dentist to see the way the upper teeth and corresponding lower teeth fit together when the jaw is closed.
- Panoramic – gives the dentist a broad view of the entire mouth.
X-rays aren’t typically needed during each dental visit. Radiation exposure from dental X-rays is low — but talk to your dentist if you’re concerned about exposure.