The physical process for digital radiography is actually similar to traditional dental X-rays that use film, except there is no more uncomfortable cardboard to bite down onto. With digital radiography, although it resembles the film used for bitewings and other X-rays, the digital sensor is electronic and connected to a computer. There are several benefits to using digital radiography over traditional film X-rays: Less Radiation, Shorter Dental Appointments, Higher Quality Images, Transferring Dental Records and it is Environmentally Friendly.

When X-rays pass through your mouth during a dental exam, more X-rays are absorbed by the denser parts (such as teeth and bone) than bysoft tissues (such as cheeks and gums) before striking the film. This creates an image on the radiograph. Teeth appear lighter because fewer X-rays penetrate to reach the film. Cavities and gum disease appear darker because of more X-ray penetration. The interpretation of these X-rays allows the dentist to safely and accurately detect hidden abnormalities.

How often dental X-rays (radiographs) should be taken depends on the patient`s individual health needs. It is important to recognize that just as each patient is different from the next, so should the scheduling of X-ray exams be individualized for each patient.

The schedule for needing radiographs at recall visits varies according to your age, risk for disease and signs and symptoms. Recent films may be needed to detect new cavities, or to determine the status of gum disease or for evaluation of growth and development. Children may need X-rays more often than adults. This is because their teeth and jaws are still developing and because their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay than those of adults.