The Modern Dental Imaging Techniques We Use

To maintain healthy teeth, it's essential to have good oral and dental hygiene. It is also vital to visit our dentist, who will provide advice and instructions on how to take care of your teeth properly. During your initial visit to Smiles on Northern in Glendale, Arizona, you can expect your oral exam to be accompanied by x-rays or other dental imaging techniques.

Dental imaging helps our dentist make a well-informed diagnosis and treatment plan catered to your unique needs. There are various types of x-rays available for dental imaging. Depending on your symptoms, some x-ray procedures will be more suitable than others. Take a closer look at some of the modern dental imaging procedures we may use during your visit.

Digital X-Rays

Among the most commonly used dental imaging techniques, digital x-rays are especially valuable because they don't expose you to as much radiation as film x-rays. The resulting images aid our dentist in identifying any growths or abnormalities in the gums, teeth and enamel with efficiency.

The digital x-ray machine is connected to a computer that displays the image minutes after it is taken. This process is not only convenient, but it also allows our dentist to view the results immediately instead of having to wait hours or days.

Intraoral Camera

Another common dental x-ray, the intraoral camera, is utilized when our dentist needs to take x-rays that show the interior of your mouth as clearly as possible. In this case, the camera is largely focused on the inside of your mouth.

There are three different types of intraoral x-rays that can be used, and each is chosen based on the area of the mouth that is being x-rayed. These variations include:

·       Periapical X-ray: The periapical x-ray reveals the entire tooth, from its starting point in the jaw to the enamel. This style of dental imaging is important to identify any unusual growths, abnormalities or changes which might be occurring at the root, near the gum or in other bone structures.

·       Bitewing X-ray: Focusing on the enamel of the teeth, bitewing x-rays are essential for identifying cavities and tooth decay between the teeth. Tooth decay caused by gum diseases are also easy to identify with this tool. In situations where fillings need replacing, the bitewing x-ray can be used to identify the level of deterioration that has occurred.

·       Occlusal X-ray: Occlusal x-rays allow for a broader look at the placement and overall arch of the teeth. This technique is largely used to identify alignment problems that need to be fixed with braces.

Our dentist may use any these styles of intraoral camera x-rays based on your particular dental needs.

Oral Cancer Screening (Velscope)

Our dentist may also recommend that you get tested or screened for oral cancer. One of the tools used for oral cancer screening is Velscope, which is a technology that is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is efficient in diagnosing oral cancer. The system works by analyzing and providing visual representations of abnormalities in the oral mucous that may not be visible to the naked eye. It's one of the most widely used tools for oral cancer screenings today.

iTero Dental Impressions

Used to get effective intraoral x-rays, the iTero dental impressions provide a 3D image of your teeth. This technique is used to acquire dental impressions for braces, dental fillings, dental crowns, implants and more. The iTero dental impressions tool takes minutes to use and can be operated without any protective wear.

CEPH X-Ray

A CEPH X-ray, also known as a cephalometric analysis, is a type of panoramic x-ray that displays the entire bone structure of your neck and head. Our dentist will use this dental imaging technique to identify any problems in the jaw, neck and head areas that may be affecting your oral and facial bone development.

This tool is useful for understanding the occurrence of underbites and overbites, and it helps realistically predict the movement of teeth when applying various treatments. With the condition of the jaw in mind, the CEPH X-ray can work out how the teeth will move and predict how soon the results will occur.

Digital X-ray

Offering superior resolution with less radiation exposure, digital radiography at your Glendale dentist is an excellent way to help diagnose oral problems. Digital X-rays not only use 90% less radiation than traditional film X-rays but are also much less time-consuming.

 Using a small radiographic camera that is only slightly larger than a pen, we capture images of each tooth. This technology eliminates the need for developing or chemical processing of the images. Instead, they appear instantly on a computer screen as each scan is complete. By shifting the angle of the imaging wand only slightly, the dentist can capture every surface of every tooth. 

Read more about Digital X-ray

Intraoral Camera

An intraoral camera is a small video camera that takes an image of the outside of the gum or tooth. The intraoral camera resembles an oversized pen. While simultaneously viewing a monitor, the dentist inserts the camera into a patient's mouth and gently shifts it about so that images can be taken from a variety of angles. 

The intraoral camera is extremely helpful in diagnosing dental conditions such as tooth decay and cracked teeth and in educating the patient. Since the intraoral camera is used in tandem with a computer screen or television monitor, your dentist can easily show you, in real-time, if you have a fractured tooth or need gum disease treatment. A picture is worth a thousand words!

Time-savings that come with the intraoral camera are especially noticeable when your dentist needs to take several images at one time. Intraoral camera images are easy to re-take, print and duplicate. Printouts can be sent to dental insurance companies to strengthen claims. In fact, these images are so useful that some insurance companies now accept images via e-mail; the reduced paper trail cuts down on claim-processing time and is an environmentally friendly option as well.

For more information on the intraoral camera at Smiles on Northern, call us at 623-931-5321 today!

At Smiles on Northern in Glendale, Arizona, we utilize a variety of dental imaging technologies to ensure each patient receives the treatments they need. Take the first step in achieving your dental goals today by calling 623-931-5321. Our dentist and team are here to schedule your appointment, answer your questions and address any concerns.