Why are Dental X-rays useful in diagnosis

An x-ray, otherwise known as a radiograph, is a commonly used imaging tool for producing images of a patient’s internal body structures, such as his bones. A dental x-ray is often used to check for cavities and jaw anomalies that could affect one’s oral health. This is to ensure that there are no lapses in diagnoses.
How do dental x-rays work? The Sirona Orthopos SL 3D used at our practice relies on the x-rays to pass through the mouth and jaw. Harder structures like teeth and bones absorb more of the ray as compared to softer tissue like gums. Any anomalies like teeth cavities or infection would then appear darker on the developed x-ray or digital radiograph.
As a diagnostics tool, an x-ray is a valuable resource that medical professionals rely on. The ability to isolate issues help speed up the treatment process and reduce any errors when diagnosing. The digital x-ray is then used by a dentist to determine any problems that the patient might have. It is ideal for diagnosing any dental concerns that could have been missed by the naked eye as the x-ray can capture nooks and crannies of the jaw and teeth.
The precision of the digital x-ray will give the dentist a clearer picture of the patient’s oral health needs and anticipate challenges during dental procedures. These distinctions allow the dentists to easily identify areas of concern and provide more accurate treatment. The x-rays will make it easier for the dental health professional to go over a realistic treatment plan with the patient and manage any expectations that might come up with regards to recovery and post-treatment needs.
One of the more common concerns of dental x-ray is the radiation exposure and the adverse consequences caused by it. Some might worry that x-rays cause cells and tissues to mutate which may lead to cancer. However, the amount of radiation exposure depends on the area being examined, the duration of exposure and the age of the patient.
Here at Tag Dental, we use digital x-rays instead of developing them on film and the risks from radiation exposure are even lower. Dental x-rays used in the process of the patient’s treatment ensures peace of mind as the risk of having an undetected oral health problem is way higher than the risks involved in taking an x-ray. Always consult a dental health professional for any questions one might have before any dental procedures.

Some of the misconceptions surrounding dental x-rays include:

Myth: If the dental professional leaves the room during the x-ray, it must be dangerous.
Truth: Exposure to radiation has a cumulative effect. For the average person with a healthy body, exposure to x-ray a couple of times a year for routine check-ups and so on is negligible on the body and will not cause any side effects or cancers. Whereas, dental professionals who have to administer the procedure a few times a day on a daily basis can have residual traces of exposure reside in their body. The dose they would be receiving is far more than what is acceptable for the average person and would carry risks. To protect healthcare professionals, the procedures that they follow would include them leaving the room during the procedure.

Myth: Dental x-rays are the most damaging because they’re close to the brain
Truth: It is a common concern that x-rays lead to the proliferation of cancer, especially for the brain which would be exposed during the x-rays.  The brain is one of the organs in the body with the lowest chances of developing cancer. Cancer is essentially the mutation of the cell division process in an organ, the brain, compared to other organs such as the stomach or colon, undergoes much less cell division. The amount of radiation exposure to a patient during a single dental x-ray is negligible. It would require hours of prolonged exposure for a patient to develop even a small risk of developing cancer via x-rays. The truth is that dental x-rays have very little detrimental effects on one’s brain.

Myth: Pregnant women and nursing mothers should not undergo dental x-rays as it would affect their child’s health


Truth: It is a myth that radiation would linger in one’s body even after the x-ray has been completed, and it could even be passed from the mother’s body to her child’s. In reality, radiation does not stay inside one’s body, but simply just passes through it. A single x-ray does not expose excessive amounts of radiation to the point that it becomes detrimental to one’s health. The fetus is safe from any form of x-ray.
However, pregnant mums are candidates for gum diseases and should take precautions for potentially serious oral health issues. A single x-ray would be beneficial but multiple x-rays should be avoided.

Myth: Children are more susceptible to the effects of x-rays
Truth: Sensitivity is slightly heightened in children but the dosage of exposure one is exposed to at a routine check-up or dental appointment is so low and negligible that it is safe for them. The benefits of the x-ray outweigh the exposure especially at an age where it is important to monitor the development of their jaw. Children are also more susceptible to tooth decay and oral health problems and these issues might be aggravated by their rapidly changing jaw structure.

Common dental procedures that require x-rays include:

  • Routine dental health check-up
  • In children, to monitor the progress of their oral health and jaw development 
  • The beginning of an orthodontic procedure also known as braces
  • Wisdom tooth removal
  • Any form of implants such as veneers 
  • Dental crown and bridges


Types of dental x-rays available at Tag Dental

Intraoral Bitewing

Bitewing X-rays are used to identify any cavities between the teeth that the dentist is not able to visually identify. These x-rays are essential in preventing the cavity from exacerbating further. By the time such a cavity has decayed to the point that it is visible to the human eye, more drastic treatment such as a root canal may have to be taken. They are named as such due to the wing-shaped piece that the patient is required to bite onto during the x-ray scan.


Periapical x-rays take an x-ray image of a small number of teeth, around two to three at one given point in time, from its crown down to its root. These x-rays assist the dentist in identifying potential infections or root caries and the abscesses that they may have developed.

Full View (OPG)

A full view Orthopantomogram, or OPG for short, is used to identify any problems in the patient’s jaw and teeth. This is critical in revealing any form of dislocation, infection or fractures in the jaw as well as the state of the patient’s oral health.

3D Cone Beam CT scan

A C-arm rotates 360-degrees around the head to generate a 3D image of the entire jaw, allowing the dentist to be provided with a detailed image of both the teeth and their roots. The Cone Beam CT scan is slightly different from the conventional CT scan as it provides a more accurate image and has a lower dosage of radiation. For any further questions relating to dental x-rays, contact Tag Dental via this website and we would get back to you shortly. 

Pleasant and efficient

Safe and convenient

Greater accuracy

Direct Conversion Sensor (DCS)

Soft ambient lighting in over 30 colours that are conveniently adjustable to ensure maximum comfort in every individual, while still effectively taking x-rays in swift seconds.

The Sirona Orthopos SL 3D uses 3D imaging with the same dose range as 2D images that require lower exposure time and lower dosage to the patient.

An all-digital system compared to a conventional film x-ray requires a lesser dose of the x-ray to be passed within the body, thus making it safer.

Digital radiography allows the x-ray records to be easily viewed on tablets and IPads, making it more accessible to dental professionals and patients.

Cephalometric Imaging is able to detect displaced teeth using 3D x-rays to determine their exact location. This gives the dental professional greater clarity in carrying out procedures. DCS technology has enabled higher quality panoramic imaging and higher sensitivity to fine details which are beneficial for the patient’s dental needs.

Now, patients are guaranteed to a sharper image despite lower exposure time and lower dosage to them.