To achieve the most accurate, intricate depiction of a patient’s mouth, it is common to use a combination of impressions and x-ray types. Below is a list of the different types of x-rays used at The Texas Center for Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, their reason for use, and needed frequency.
X-Ray Type: Panoramic Radiography
Panoramic radiography, also called panoramic radiograph, is a two-dimensional dental x-ray examination that captures the entire mouth in a single image, including the teeth, upper and lower jaws, surrounding structures, and tissue.
Frequency needed: Every three to five years or dependent upon patient need.
Used for: A panoramic radiograph gives an overview of the patient’s whole mouth. Especially good for diagnosing problems with wisdom teeth, jaw structure, and nasal cavity deviations.
X-Ray Type: Bitewing
Bitewing radiographs are a type of x-ray that are used to capture close-up images in the areas of the mouth where the back teeth touch each other. Taking these images is a simple two-step process, in which patients are given thin film panels to bite down on, and then the camera is placed outside the specific area being captured.
Frequency needed: Once per year or as needed for treatment.
Used for: Bitewings are the most effective radiograph for diagnosing cavities and bone loss. They are also used to check the status and quality of existing crowns and other dental restorations.
X-Ray Type: Periapical (PA)
Periapical radiographs are an x-ray type used to target specific teeth of concern. They show the entire tooth, from the crown to the end of the root and the bones that support the tooth.
Frequency needed: PA’s are taken as needed, most likely when the patient is presenting a specific area of concern.
Used for: Periapical x-rays are useful in finding dental problems below the gum line or in the jaw, such as impacted teeth, abscesses, and bone changes liked to some diseases.
X-Ray Type: Full Mouth Series (FMS)
An FMS consists of a combination of all previously mentioned x-rays.
Frequency needed: The FMS is performed every three to five years.
Used for: The Full Mouth Series gives an in-depth view of the patient’s entire mouth. It is the ideal set of radiographs for new patients because it gives an entire view of the patient’s oral condition.