Conrad Roentgen was experimenting with vacuum tubes. In 1895, he produced, with one of these tubes, an invisible ray that
was capable of penetrating substances opaque to life. When certain objects were place between the tube and the screen, there
shadows were cast upon the screen. Unable to define the exact nature of this radiation, he named it the “x-ray”.
x-rays went through major improvements.
It is now possible to take dental x-rays exposing the patient to as little
as one-tenth the amount of radiation of older, conventional x-rays. This is
done with the use of digital x-rays that do not use film and do not need chemicals for development. Sensors instead of film
are placed in the patient's mouth. These sensors are slightly thicker than
the conventional x-ray film, but absolute majority of the patients will tolerate it as well as conventional film. After exposure,
the image appears on a computer screen in just seconds. The
resultant digital pictures are as clear as conventional film x-rays. They also provide a lot of information that was not available
before. Instead of holding up small films that are hard to see, the dentist and the patient can look at the images on a computer screen together. The taken images can be enhanced and enlarged many times its actual size.
|Bite wing X-ray
|Arrows point to decay, not visible at the exam
are two principal kinds of dental x-rays.
Extraoral X-rays mean that the film or digital sensor remains outside of the mouth
while the machine shoots the beam through other structures from the outside. The most used dental extraoral x-ray is the panoramic
x-ray (Panorex). The Panorex is a large, single x-ray film that shows the entire bony structure of the teeth and face.
It takes a much wider area than any intra oral film showing structures outside of their range including the sinuses, and the
Temperomandibular Joints. It shows many pathological structures such as bony tumors and cysts, as well as the position
of the wisdom teeth. They are quick and easy to take. It gives full picture of the dentition, but it lacks some details that
intraoral x-ray have.