x-rays and imaging

Up close and personal. But for all the right reasons. X-rays are necessary to ensure a detailed examination for personalized treatment – with your smile in mind.


What is a dental X-ray?

Yes, dental X-rays are important – despite popular opinion. Think of it like this: before undergoing a medical operation, it’s imperative to have a detailed examination and customized plan for treatment. The same applies to your smile. Dental X-rays, also called radiographs, are one of the most important tools a dentist can use to keep your mouth and teeth healthy. Important note, X-rays aren’t just for checking cavities. These high-quality images allow a dentist to assess your oral health and ensure better treatment.

Dentist describing an x-ray to a patient

What Problems Can Dental X-Rays Detect?


Dental X-rays help dentists with many common and easily treatable oral health issues. Early detection can help you avoid pain, minimize existing problems, and potentially treat life-threatening oral conditions. Here are the common and more serious problems dental x-rays detect:


Periodontal Disease

a tooth with a gum root issue.


 cracked tooth with a yellow circle.


a tooth with abscess inside a yellow circle.


decaying tooth within a yellow circle

Cysts & Tumors

a mouth that has a cyst inside of it.
Up close x-ray of teeth

How often should you have routine teeth cleanings?

It is recommended to see your dentist twice a year for professional teeth cleanings and oral examinations for a healthier, happier smile. However, if you have signs of gum disease, a shorter interval of every three to four months may be necessary.

Dentist talking to a patient in the dental chair

Types of Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays are designed with the purpose of providing your dentist a complete, highly-detailed image of your mouth. For this reason, there are different types of X-rays with distinct, key features that render a precise image to deliver the right solution.

Bitewing X-Rays

Bitewing X-rays are commonly used to show the condition of your teeth above and below the gumline. The name comes from the wing-shaped device you bite down on. Taken for preventative purposes.

Periapical X-Rays

A periapical X-ray shows the entirety of your tooth or the jawbone. These are recommended to determine the underlying cause of pain. These types of X-rays may be used if there’s damage to the tip of the tooth root or issues with the jawbone.

Panoramic X-Rays

A panoramic X-ray is designed to provide a single image of your entire upper and lower teeth. These are often used in preparation for major dental procedures or complications.


A tomogram is a type of image CT scans produce. Tomography provides cross-sectional images (slices) that show the skeleton, organs, tissues, and abnormalities.

Cephalometric Projections

Cephalometric projections are used to get images that help your dentist determine orthodontic intervention. They provide side views of the skull.


A sialogram is an X-ray image of the salivary ducts and glands.

Dental Computed Tomography (CT)

Unlike conventional X-rays, dental computed tomography generates cross-sectional images to provide more detailed images with a lower radiation rate.

Cone Beam Computed Technology (CBCT)

A cone-beam CT is a 3D X-ray that uses a combination of complex features to provide advanced images of bone, muscle, blood vessels, and soft tissue. Generally used for more in-depth imaging.

Digital Imaging

Digital imagery of your mouth is generated using sensors connected to a computer that help to create clearer images.


How much do dental x-rays cost?

From the type of X-ray needed to dental insurance coverage, your dental X-ray costs depend on a handful of factors. And not to forget the necessary equipment and type of imaging produced. Dental insurance policies may cover the cost of dental X-rays, but have specific parameters in place. To get a clear understanding of cost, your dentist is the best person to talk to. In total, it’s better to get an X-ray for early treatment, which saves you money long term.

Illustration of a hand holding dollar bills with a green background
individual with beautiful teeth flossing in front of the mirror

Book an Appointment Today


If you have any questions about dental X-rays, schedule an appointment and get the answers you need. With early detection, it can save you money in the long term.



Are there any risks when getting a dental x-ray?

While any time you have an X-ray, you get exposed to a level of radiation, X-ray technology has significantly improved and the level of radiation you are exposed to now is low. The potential risks of radiation exposure are carefully considered against the diagnostic value of dental x-rays, according to the Federal Drug Administration and the American Dental Association.

X-ray of teeth and jaw

Got questions?


This brings us to commonly asked questions on X-rays. It’s okay, there are quite a few. Learn more just a click away.

When you visit a new dentist, you will be given a comprehensive oral exam and cleaning to address any issues you may have and improve your oral hygiene. Here are some steps you can expect throughout your first visit:

  • Check in and complete any paperwork before your appointment
  • Get X-rays and other diagnostic tests
  • Receive an oral examination
  • Address your dental history and concerns Develop a personalized oral care plan


Your personalized plan may involve additional treatments you may need, such as a deep cleaning, cavity filling, dental crown or more. Once your dental appointment is over, you can schedule your next appointment to maintain your oral health into the future.

Not only can you go to the dentist while pregnant, but it is encouraged. The key is communication during your visits. X-rays are safe while pregnant if you use protective aprons during the process.


Anesthesia is also safe during pregnancy. While the ADA recommends essential dental work during pregnancy, there are some treatments not recommended during pregnancy, such as teeth whitening.

Regular dental check-ups, recommended at least twice a year, with X-rays when necessary, help in early detection of oral issues. This proactive approach allows dentists to address problems promptly, avoiding pain, minimizing existing issues, and preventing potentially serious oral conditions.

Dental X-rays, or radiographs, are essential for a detailed examination and customized treatment plan, allowing dentists to assess oral health beyond cavity detection. These high-quality images aid in early detection of common and serious oral issues, enabling better treatment and potentially preventing life-threatening conditions.


Related Posts

Many oral problems can lead to tooth pain. Cavities, gum disease, and an injury are the three issues people most commonly associate with oral pain. But another issue that has the potential to cause se
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, can be a serious condition with many ramifications for your oral health. However, it could also be harmful to your overall health.  Gum disease is an integral
Everyone gets one set of adult teeth. So exercising good oral habits is critical to make sure they last. Part of having a healthy mouth is cavity and tooth decay prevention. Here's what you need to kn

Healthline. (n.d.). Dental X-Rays: Types, Procedure, Risks, and Benefits. https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-x-rays

Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Dental X-Rays: What You Need to Know. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11199-dental-x-rays

WebMD. (n.d.). Dental X-Rays: What to Expect. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-x-rays

Healthcare Imaging Services. (n.d.). Dental X-Ray & OPG: What to Expect and How to Prepare. https://www.healthcareimaging.com.au/services/dental-x-ray-opg/