Intraoral Dental Imaging
Exploring Intraoral Dental Radiography
Whether it’s for cosmetic enhancement or other motivations, the desire for a flawless, radiant, and whiter smile is on the rise. Technological advancements in dentistry have made achieving this aspiration possible. Presently, there are two popular in-office procedures, both aimed at brightening teeth. While these treatments share similarities in their approach, certain distinctions set them apart.
Dental images predominantly rely on X-ray technology to provide the essential information needed for making swift and accurate diagnoses. Intraoral radiographs involve the placement of radiographic films inside the mouth, with various types of radiographs available:
- PERIAPICAL RADIOGRAPHY
Dental radiography, commonly known as this type of radiography, ranks as one of the most commonly sought-after imaging methods in dentistry. It provides a holistic view of the entire tooth, spanning from the root tip to the visible crown in the oral cavity. Through this radiographic image, dental professionals can effectively assess the tooth’s status and the condition of surrounding structures, including the adjacent bone and supporting tissues. Its utility extends to tracking tooth decay advancement, detecting pulp involvement, monitoring infection development, and ruling out fractures or periodontal issues.
- BITEWING OR INTERPROXIMAL RADIOGRAPHS
Interproximal or bite-wing radiographs, sharing the same dimensions as periapical radiographs, utilize a specialized method to capture intraoral images concentrating on the coronal aspects of the upper and lower dental arches. These radiographs serve as a valuable tool for obtaining information about a wider range of teeth. They are commonly sought to identify dental caries located between teeth, a diagnosis that often eludes clinical examination. Furthermore, they play a crucial role in evaluating the presence and progression of conditions affecting the supporting structures, notably the periodontium.
- OCCLUSAL RADIOGRAPHY
These radiographs are a tad larger in size in comparison to periapical radiographs. The technique employed to acquire this intraoral image entails the patient biting down on the radiographic plate. Through this radiograph, one can evaluate the positioning of teeth that have not yet erupted within the mouth or those that are situated abnormally.
Dental images can be obtained not only through intraoral radiographs but also through extraoral radiographs. The utilization of cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) is now prevalent, offering a wealth of information through three-dimensional (3D) imaging in different planes. A research investigation, detailed in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and carried out by the academic and professional community associated with the WHO, has confirmed the safety of cone beam tomography, assuring that it complies with rigorous radiation exposure safety standards for patients.
The decision regarding the type of imaging to be requested is guided by multiple factors, with the primary criterion being the nature of the intended observations. Whether the focus is on tooth positioning, periodontal disease identification, fracture or infection diagnosis, or the assessment of treatment outcomes, the choice is dictated by the specific diagnostic task. Importantly, it should be stressed that dental X-ray procedures are classified as safe by the American Dental Association (ADA) owing to their exceedingly low radiation levels, which substantially diminishes the likelihood of potential harm.
Intraoral imaging of this kind empowers the creation of a 3D digital record of the patient’s oral structure, streamlining digital workflows, and frequently enhancing precision, all while reducing processing time. This modern approach supplants the traditional technique of constructing physical models from the patient’s oral impressions, ultimately enhancing patient comfort.