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Digital X-rays

Orange County Pediatric Dental Group offers Digital Radiography (digital x-rays) in Santa Ana, CA

Digital radiography (digital X-ray) is the latest technology used to take dental X-rays.  This technique uses an electronic sensor or Phosphor plate (instead of X-ray film) that captures and stores the digital image on a computer.  Orange County Pediatric Dental Group utilizes both systems to capture images. The digital images can be viewed much more quickly than traditional x-ray film. Digital x-ray imaging software has tools that help the dentist enhance the view of the teeth, which makes detection of abnormalities (such as decay and bony defects) much easier than with traditional x-ray film techniques. By seeing decay in the very early stages, we can start our patients on preventive programs that stop decay before the teeth to be treated with traditional fillings.  

We have been using digital x-ray imaging for over 18 years at Orange County Pediatric Dental Group

Dental X-rays are an essential diagnostic tool that provides valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental problems and to create a comprehensive treatment plan. Without X-rays, problem areas can go undetected.

Dental X-rays help the dentist see:

  • Cavities between teeth and cavities around/under old fillings/crowns
  • Developmental abnormalities, such as missing or extra teeth
  • Unerupted teeth that are poorly positioned (needing intervention)
  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • Abscesses (infections)
  • Cysts and certain types of tumors
  • If a young patient will have sufficient room for adult teeth

Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage may help avoid the need for more extensive and costly treatment.  This can save patients from experiencing discomfort and helps to limit time spent in the dental chair.

Dental imaging offered at Orange County Pediatric Dental Group:

Digital sensor (intraoral x-ray): The image goes directly from a small, rigid sensor into the computer. Images are seen in seconds. 

Phosphor plate (intraoral x-ray): A flexible plate is used, similar to a traditional x-ray film. It gets scanned in and transferred to the computer. It is tolerated by many children and by adults who have difficulty with a digital sensor.

Extraoral bitewing x-rays: Some patients have difficulty tolerating a sensor or phosphor plate inside of their mouth. Our MyRay pan/ceph unit will also take extraoral bitewing x-rays. This allows us to view between the teeth on some patients who would otherwise be unable to have imaging performed. Dr. Renzi and Dr. House have seen cavities between teeth numerous times, allowing them to treat the teeth before patients develop pain and infection. 

Panoramic x-ray: An image taken outside of the mouth (extraoral). It's used to evaluate growth and development, abnormalities, and is commonly used to evaluate wisdom teeth.

Cephalometric x-ray: An image taken outside of the mouth (extraoral). We take a profile (side) view to evaluate the jaws and surrounding structures. It's used for orthodontics in our practice.

The imaging recommended will be based on each patient's individual needs and ability to tolerate certain procedures.

Are dental X-rays safe?

We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment, especially in southern California. Digital X-rays produce a significantly lower level of radiation compared to traditional dental x-rays. Digital X-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental X-rays.

To further reduce our patients’ exposure to radiation, we use lead-free aprons and thyroid collars on our patients. We follow the principle of ALARA (As Low As Reasonable Achievable) to make exposure to ionizing radiation as far below the dose limits as practical. However, for the reasons listed previously, dental x-rays are needed from time to time, because we can’t diagnose what we can’t see.

How often should dental X-rays be taken?

The need for dental X-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs.  Your dentist will recommend necessary X-rays based upon the review of your child’s medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, age, and risk of decay. With very young patients and with our patients with special needs, cooperation can factor in the ability to obtain dental x-rays. 

Contact us at our Santa Ana location to schedule your appointment today!