In order to ensure that the health of your teeth and your oral cavity remains pristine and polished, it’s important to make sure to get dental x-rays. A dental x-ray allows a dentist to visualize probable anomalies that are hidden from the naked eye. They can also help diagnose diseases that may pertain to any oddities in the patient’s behavior and can assist the dental team to create an elaborate personalized treatment plan.

Conventional 2D X-rays

A 2D x-ray is an x-ray examination that captures images of the mouth. This includes the teeth, upper and lower jaws, and surrounding structures and tissues.  These types of x-rays can range from simple intraoral to extraoral full mouth x-rays.

  • Intraoral x-ray

Intraoral x-rays require preparation by placing a film inside your mouth. They highlight these specific areas:

  • Bitewing-X-rays: Shows details of the upper and lower teeth in one area of the mouth.
  • Periapical X-rays: Shows the whole tooth – from the crown to beyond the root where the tooth attaches to the jaw.
  • Occlusal X-rays: Tracks the development and placement of an entire arch of teeth in either the upper or lower jaw.

These x-rays are vital for diagnosing and aiding in the treatment of tooth cavities, abnormal growth near the roots, any bone loss surrounding the teeth, and more. They are also used to understand the status of a child’s developing teeth.

  • Extraoral x-ray

Extraoral x-rays are used to detect dental problems in the jaw and skull. There are several types of extraoral x-rays: panoramic, tomograms, cephalometric projections, sialogram, dental computed tomography (CT), cone-beam CT, and digital imaging. Each one is used for a specific purpose and can detect issues such as cysts and tumors, salivary gland problems, teeth alignment, and more.

3D X-rays

Unlike 2D x-rays, three-dimensional x-ray imaging was developed to help create an understanding of the entire mouth by designing a 3D rendition of the oral cavity. The 3D image captures a true 3d image of the mouth and allows the dentist to study the mouth in slices, similar to a CT scan. These x-rays are sometimes referred to as a cone beam, capturing images of the teeth and mouth.

3D x-rays are helpful for the following:

  • Orthodontic procedures
  • Surgical planning and treatment of impacted teeth
  • Diagnosis of temporomandibular joint (TMJ or the jaw bone) disorder
  • Accurate placement of dental implants
  • Locating the origin of pain or disease
  • Detecting, measuring and treating tumors of the jaw
  • Computing data for bone structure and health
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Planning for root canal therapy or bone graft
  • Evaluation of sinus, jaw or nasal cavity concerns

Which one is better? 2D or 3D x-rays?

3D X-rays are far superior to traditional 2D x-rays. Their technological marvel has created a new and advanced way for meticulously identifying and treating diseases while also ensuring that patients feel properly treated and diagnosed.

Here are a few more benefits:

  • Advanced treatment: Your dentist will be able to plan a treatment protocol that is specific and unique to your dental needs.
  • Speediness: A 3D x-ray only takes about 14-20 seconds to complete and the computer completes its reconstruction in about 7 minutes, while 2D x-rays can take a while to gather data.
  • Convenience: With the 2D x-rays that required the development of films, patients are often inconvenienced. A 3D x-ray eliminates that nuisance.
  • Improved diagnostic ability: With 3D x-rays, an accurate picture of the entire mouth is showcased which helps enhance the diagnosis process.
  • Lowered risk: 3D x-ray scanners emit a lower x-ray dose compared to those emitted by conventional 2D x-ray products. This lowers the risks of getting cancer from radiation produced by 2D x-ray devices.
  • Complete picture: A 3D x-ray can exhibit areas that can easily be hidden with 2D x-rays.
  • Better patient education: With 3D x-rays, patients are able to visualize and comprehend their dental x-rays easier as they show things in extreme detail.

3D x-ray imaging has proven to give better and more accurate results; however, not every dentist in Fargo has a 3D x-ray machine. Good news – we have one at Vetter Dental! If you want to get a comprehensive view of your teeth and make sure everything is healthy in your mouth and jaw, book your appointment with us online today. We look forward to hearing from you!