Because many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues may not be possible to detect through a visual examination, an x-ray can help reveal:
- small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings)
- infections in the bone
- periodontal (gum) disease
- abscesses or cysts
- developmental abnormalities
- some types of tumors
Most dentists are now using digital x-rays. To take a digital x-ray, a sensor is placed in the mouth that looks like a piece of film. Once the picture is taken, adjustments can be made to the contrast and brightness of the image to find even the smallest area of decay. Other benefits of digital x-rays are decreased exposure to radiation for the patient and operator and reduced time to develop photos, which helps eliminate treatment disruptions.