Digital X-Rays: What’s What?

You may have an inkling that advanced dental technology plays an important role in our ability to diagnose problems and plan for your improved oral health. However, when it comes to the particular details of digital X-rays, for instance, you may feel at a loss. True, you are likely more than happy to strike the necessary pose we suggest, which will optimize our ability to capture detailed images of your smile. However, you may be looking for specific information regarding why we’re taking X-rays or what to make of the different imaging systems we use. Don’t worry – becoming familiar what’s what in the world of dental imaging is simple.

What Makes Them Digital?

Conventional X-rays require the use of film and processing chemicals. The finished product includes a physical X-ray that we hold in our hand. Digital X-rays – similar to digital photography – are created with the use of computer software. Rather than processing film, we simply upload the gathered image into our computer system for further use.

Why Do I Need X-Rays?

There is a lot happening beneath the surface of your oral cavity that we cannot see by visually examining your smile. Though a glance in your mouth provides us with a jumping off point, we need a detailed, close-up look at the inner working of your mouth and supportive structures to diagnose concerns, suggest treatments, and create personalized care plans with precision.

Types of Digital X-Rays

We may suggest one or multiple types of X-rays depending on your particular needs. Learn more with the following:

  • Panoramic X-Rays: A panoramic X-ray captures an image of your entire mouth at once, rather than portions. This helps us view your sinuses, teeth, and jaws.
  • iCAT Scans: Short for cone-beam computed tomography, this imaging provides us with a three-dimensional view of your mouth and cranium. This helps us make decisions regarding oral surgery, such as procedures including implants or third molars.


Combining experience in oral and maxillofacial surgery with a genuine care for their patients’ health and comfort, the team at Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Oral Surgery is ready to improve the health and beauty of smiles in the Sonoma County and North Bay area. To schedule a consultation, contact our office by calling 707-545-4625 (Santa Rosa) or 707-584-1630 (Rohnert Park).