What Type of X-Rays Should I Expect to Have?

Santa Rosa & Rohnert Park Oral Surgery take digital radiographs. This is the newest X-ray technique, in which standard X-ray film is replaced with an electronic sensor. Digital x-rays are faster to take, are easier to interpret, and expose patients to less than half the radiation of conventional film. Drs. Tyko, Chu, Daniel, and Trent offer three types of digital radiographs.

Periapical X-­rays show a small area of the jaw and teeth. These are the types of films many patients get at their dentist’s office. This type of X-ray exposes patients to a very small dose of radiation, less than one day’s worth of natural background radiation. Though often helpful, periapical x‐rays may not show enough of the adjacent structures to provide your surgeon with sufficient information. If that is the case, your doctor will discuss alternative x-ray choices with you.

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Panoramic X-rays show the entire mouth on a single X-ray. This type of X-ray machine circles around your head, without the need to place a sensor into your mouth. This film shows all of the teeth and both the upper and lower jaws. It exposes patients to about a tenth of the radiation from that of a full mouth series of periapical X-rays. Put another way, the radiation dose is about the same as 1.7 days of natural background radiation.

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Cone-beam computed tomography (CT) provides three‐dimensional images. You stand while the machine rotates around your head. A cone-beam scan exposes patients to a small fraction of the radiation from a medical CT scan. The radiation dose is about the same as 7 days of natural background radiation or an airplane flight from LA to New York. The cone-beam CT is particularly useful for diagnosing and treatment planning for impacted wisdom teeth, pathology, bone grafts, and dental implant selection and placement.

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If you have questions or concerns about dental emergencies, please contact our staff at Santa Rosa Oral Surgery or just set up an appointment.