Dental X-Rays

Dental X-Rays

Matthew Norman, DDS and Michelle Phillips, RDH


X-Rays or radiographic images are taken in dental offices to help in diagnosing dental diseases such as tooth decay and infection.  Every x-ray/image taken at Norman Dental is digital.  Digital x-rays are superior in quality to traditional film x-rays, but most importantly, digital imaging requires only about 25% of the radiation exposure that traditional x-rays do.  This allows your Norman Dental team to expose our patients to as little radiation as possible while taking these important images.  We take radiographs for a couple different reasons:

  • Bitewings:  These are the 2 or 4 images taken routinely at hygiene visits.  These are great for detecting toothBWdecay between back teeth, bone levels around the teeth and tartar below the gums.  We generally take these images every 12-18 months, depending on the individual patient’s needs.


  • PA or Periapical: These x-rays are taken to show us the entire tooth, including thePA root tip.  These may be taken if you’re having a toothache or swelling around a tooth.  PA images help us to detect tooth decay in anterior or front teeth.   PA images also may be required from your insurance company for a particular procedure (i.e. crown).


Full Survey X-Rays: These types of x-rays are generally taken every three to five years.

  • Panorex or Panoramic: This image scans around your head to show us all of your teeth including the roots, jawPano joints, sinus cavities and surrounding areas.  These images are taken to detect cysts, growths or defects in the bone that we cannot see clinically.  Panoramic images are also taken to assess the wisdom teeth or even for the placement of a dental implant.


  • Full Mouth Series: This is a series of 18 different x-rays.  These 18 imagesFMX consist of 14 Periapical x-rays and four Bitewings.   The Full Mouth Series is a better choice of a full survey film if someone has had multiple crowns, fillings, a high rate of tooth decay, or teeth which have had root canal treatment.

We cannot see everything in the mouth just by looking…this is why we routinely take x-rays on all patients.  The x-rays allow us to see things that we cannot detect clinically.