Digital X-Rays

Dental x-rays have come a long way in the last few years. Dr. Scharf, one of the most awarded periodontists in Long Island, uses the latest in technology to give you the best care possible.

Why X-rays?

Dentists use x-rays to find problems in the mouth, teeth, jaw, and gums by taking pictures of the underlying structures. X-rays can reveal cavities, hidden impacts, holes, bone loss, and dental structures that have not yet come through the gums (like wisdom teeth). They can also expose cysts, abscesses, growths, tooth decay, and broken roots. In other words, a dentist’s gathered information on how to help you would be severely limited without x-rays! Once an x-ray is taken we can use it to establish a plan to attack the problems in a mouth.

What types of X-rays are there?

There are several different types of x-rays that can be useful for diagnoses:

Bitewing x-rays are on the sides of the mouth. These will show the molars (teeth in back) and the bicuspids (teeth just in front of the molars). Periapical x-rays are close-ups, that show just one or two teeth at a time. It shows the entirety of the tooth, from root to crown.

Occlusal x-rays are larger x-rays. Their purpose is to illustrate the tooth development in children’s mouths. They can show an entire child-sized jaw. Extraoral radiographs are x-rays that give the dentist the “big picture.” From these a dentist can get information on your skull and jaw. This helps the dentist determine growth patterns, status of teeth, interdental relationships, and general idea of facial bones.

Panoramic x-rays are, of course, a panorama of your mouth. They can show your entire set of teeth in one swath. This gives a nice picture of how all your teeth influence one another.

How does a traditional X-ray Work?

If a dentist is using the common outdated method of x-raying patients’ mouths, the film method is used.

This method is often associated with lead vests and “scary” radiation. While the radiation emitted during a normal film x-ray is only a very small amount, radiation does accumulate over your lifetime, so minimal exposure is best. These film x-rays also take a while to develop, which makes for a longer wait time at the dentist.

Digital X-rays

Here in Dr. Scharf’s office, we use the latest x-ray technology to make your experience at the dentist as painless as possible. We use digital x-rays (digital radiographs) to make the process more efficient and to minimize the patient’s exposure to radiation. These types of x-rays can emit up to 90% less radiation than traditional film x-rays and are virtually instantaneous. They are also saved on a computer for referencing at a later date -- no more bulky plastic sheets in giant envelopes! Another advantage of digital x-rays is that they can be magnified to reveal much greater detail than regular x-rays. Other features of the pictures can also be adjusted, like brightness, contrast, and color. If hard copies are needed, they can be printed. With digital x-rays, there is no need for a dark room to develop film, no storage space needed for physical x-rays, and patient x-ray information is much more easily shared with specialists or with other dentists when the need arises.

Moreover, because all the pictures are digital, the computer can superimpose pictures taken over time and highlight the differences. When the computer emphasizes the changes, you (and the dentist) can easily see movement, growth, loss, or other subtle nuances.

What’s the Process of a Digital X-ray?

It’s quite simple and quick. The dentist will place a sensor in your mouth that will be moved around for each picture. These pictures are immediately loaded onto a computer for the dentist to see and examine. It’s that simple!

Dr. Scharf has received numerous accolades and recognitions for his superior periodontal skills, his patient relationships, community service, and cutting-edge in-office techniques. Our office specializes in dental implants and we use only the safest and most efficient technology, including digital x-rays. If you have any questions or concerns about digital x-rays, be sure to give our office a call or visit our office in Long Island. We look forward to serving you and your family with the finest dental services.