X-ray is one of the basic additional diagnostic tests in dentistry. It allows you to get a lot of information that is not available when using other methods. There are the following types of X-ray images
Dental photo (intraoral)
A dental image, also called a spot image, is taken to visualize changes in the tissues of the tooth and surrounding bone that are not visible during the clinical examination. It enables the doctor to correctly assess the condition of the tissues surrounding the tooth root. It is irreplaceable in the diagnosis of toothache. During root canal treatment, the doctor orders the patient to take a dental photo several times. Before treatment, to assess the anatomy of the root or roots to be treated by root canal. In the process of taking such a photo to confirm the length of the roots. After root canal treatment, an intraoral photograph should always be taken to assess the quality of treatment. This is in accordance with the guidelines of the European Endodontic Society.
Also in other fields of dentistry, the spot image is a useful diagnostic tool. Thanks to it, the doctor can see foci of caries under existing filling, on the contact surfaces of the teeth or under the gum, e.g. tooth root caries.
The spot image shows a small area – from one to three adjacent teeth.
The radiation dose necessary to take one dental photo is 1-2 microsieverts. This is the smallest dose of ionizing radiation that the patient is charged, considering all available dental and general medical X-rays. Dental photo can be taken without facing.
This is a type of X-ray most often used in orthodontics. The orthodontic doctor makes specialist measurements on the cephalometric image to diagnose malocclusion and assesses the direction of facial growth. The cephalometric image makes visible, among others soft tissues of the face, paranasal sinuses and hard palate in lateral projection.
Pantomographic photo, called panorama, provides the doctor with a lot of valuable information not only about the patient’s teeth, but also about the tissues that surround the teeth. The photo shows the structure of the bones of the maxilla and mandible, temporomandibular joints, the lower part of the maxillary sinuses and tooth buds. By analyzing the pantomographic image, the dentist can detect various irregularities and inflammatory changes invisible to the eye. Pantomography is also widely used in the assessment of trauma, dental development (in mixed dentition), retained teeth, left root tips.
This examination is performed primarily to check the general condition of the teeth. It is necessary before the start of orthodontic treatment, as well as control during it, before prosthetic treatment, before inserting dental implants and before surgery.
- locate retained and supernumerary teeth,
- assess bone structure and jaw bone structure,
- detect periapical changes,
- picture cysts,
- pathologies in the temporomandibular joints,
- inflammatory changes in the maxillary sinuses,
- illustrate the shape of the root of the teeth and the course of the canals, as well as detect improperly performed root canal treatment,
- see inflammatory and neoplastic changes in the jaw bones (these are changes that usually develop asymptomatically).
The pantomogram is absolutely painless and takes about a dozen or so seconds.
This is important!
At Vinci Clinic, we perform all X-ray examinations using the most modern and completely safe X-ray machines. The digital diagnostics used in our laboratory allows a significant reduction of radiation dose, increases the quality of the image and gives the possibility of its processing.
We also take X-ray images for people who are not Patients of our clinic. To use our digital diagnostics, the patient should present a referral from his doctor (this rule does not apply to dental pictures, which we take at the patient’s request). Pictures in digital form are issued to patients on a CD or sent to an email address.
Digital radiography and traditional analog X-ray
Digital radiography has many advantages, providing it a significant advantage over analogue x-ray diagnostics. In analog technique, the image captured on a photographic film cannot be changed. In digital technique, the image can be enlarged, reduced, display negative, positive, choose contrast, saturation, change the density. You can analyze the selected fragment of the image in detail and take measurements of anatomical structures and the size of inflammatory changes that are visible on a digital X-ray.
In classical radiography, the role of the image carrier is played by a photographic film, which is also a radiation detector. In digital radiography, the radiation detector is an image plate or a special sensor connected to the computer. The digital x-ray image is permanent and does not age. Thanks to digital technology, the so-called teleradiology. Many specialists from different clinics can consult an x-ray at the same time. Even consultations with doctors from the other end of the world are possible.
Analog radiography is time consuming. To read the image recorded on the film, it must be properly prepared, developed and fixed, which takes several minutes. It is not uncommon for a picture not to be diagnostically valuable and another one should be taken. In the case of digital radiography, the image is visible on the monitor screen in a few seconds. There is also no need to take another photo if it turns out to be too dark, because you can process the image using a computer program and improve its quality.
The simplicity of data storage also supports the use of digital radiography. Classic X-ray film archives require a lot of space, and finding a photo after many years can be extremely difficult.
The digital image archive can be kept on CDs, DVDs or in computer memory. Such an archive is easy to search, copy or move
Digital radiography – this term covers all X-ray devices and techniques in which the X-ray image is displayed on a computer monitor, not on an x-ray film.
Although X-ray examinations are non-invasive, they burden the patient with a certain dose of ionizing radiation. It should be emphasized, however, that in new generation devices (especially in modern digital cameras) the dose of radiation necessary to take one point photo is from 1-2 micro-scale (as low as it is, the best evidence is the fact that a regular TV exposes us to much greater radiation – annually emits a dose of about 100μSv.) In addition, the most sensitive to internal radiation organs (e.g. thyroid, bone marrow, gonads) are well protected against X-rays. Modern devices have been designed in such a way that the beam of rays is limited only to the surface of the tooth and the surrounding bone. To further protect the thyroid gland, the patient is wearing a special lead apron with a neck collar when taking the picture.
The main contraindication to X-ray examination is pregnancy. However, in exceptional cases – when the test cannot be postponed until delivery – your dentist may decide to do it.
Digital radiography allows to reduce the doses of ionizing radiation several times, without compromising the quality of the X-ray images obtained. The time taken to take the picture is very short, so it is possible to reduce the radiation dose that the patient receives during the exposure.
Each x-ray image taken in digital technology can be processed using special programs and functions. Thanks to such tools as image enlargement, the obtained image can be enlarged many times, which helps the dentist see small changes that would not be visible in traditional images.
Another advantage of digital radiography is easier data archiving – photos go directly to computer memory, so they can be safely stored and stored, also on various digital media, e.g. CDs.
Digital radiography is also a more ecological method because it eliminates the amount of waste generated in the production of films and preparations for their chemical treatment (developers and fixatives)