All About Dental X-Rays

Each year, around 520 million dental examinations using X-rays are conducted around the globe.

X-rays are an important tool in dentistry, allowing dentists to get a clear vision of oral problems without invasive procedures. Dentists use X-ray examinations to diagnose, plan treatments, and monitor dental conditions.

Panoramic X-rays are taken from outside of the mouth to provide a view of the maxilla and mandible, as well as the whole dentition and a partial view of the Temporomandibular joint. The imaging provides a comprehensive view and is often used for the evaluation of wisdom teeth and potential fractures in trauma cases.

Periapical X-rays are taken inside the mouth. The film is designed to evaluate the root and crown of the teeth. Dentists usually taker periapicals of the back and anterior teeth.

According to an International Atomic Energy Agency study, dental examinations account for 21% of radiological procedures worldwide.

Because individual doses of radiation are small, dental X-rays do not harm the body. Dental professionals, however, do have to maintain safety procedures to avoid collective doses of radiation over time.

 These radiation safety requirements include:

  • Inspection and testing of the facility, X-ray machine, radiation monitoring equipment and radiograph processing equipment
  • Permits or licensing
  • Supervision of personnel
  • Use of radiation monitoring badges
  • Training or certification
  • Dental office design and radiation shielding
  • Record keeping

The American Dental Association partnered with the Food and Drug Administration to develop recommendations for dental radiographic examinations as a resource for dental professionals. Dentists must weigh the benefits of taking dental radiographs against the risk of exposing a patient to X-rays. The dentist uses the patient’s health history and vulnerability to oral disease to make a judgment.

Dental assistants must follow strict procedures for the safety of the patients and themselves. 

At Dental Office Training by Lynn, our instructors teach students the latest techniques for working with radiological equipment, including digital radiology and advanced software. With an accredited radiology program from the Indiana State Department of Health, Dental Office Training by Lynn teaches the skills dental assistants need to earn a radiology license. Each student graduates from the 12-week program with a provisional radiology license and is fully prepared to take the DANB/RHS exam.