Ever Wondered Why There Are So Many Types of X-Rays?

Within the dentistry profession, X-rays are important when it comes to assessing an individual’s oral health. Many of us have experienced the process of getting an x-ray at one point when visiting the dentist however what we may not understand is that there are various types of x-rays used for all kinds of purposes! Below we will explain different types of dental x-rays to give you a better understanding of the significance of dental x-rays have upon the practice.

Dental x-rays are divided into two types of categories:

  • Intraoral x-rays

    x-rays that are taken from the inside of the mouth.

  • Extraoral x-rays

    x-rays that are taken from the outside of the mouth.


Bitewing X-rays

  • These are used to capture the crowns of the back teeth within a bite on each side of the mouth. They are names “bitewing” due to the fact that the patient bites down on a wing-shaped film whilst the x-ray is taken. These x-rays are used to assist dentists in finding decay amongst the back teeth.

Periapical x-rays

  • These x-rays are very similar to bitewing x-rays however they only capture one or two teeth at a time. The x-ray allows full visual of a tooth from crown to root and are used to examine the health of a whole tooth.


Panoramic x-rays

  • Panoramic x-rays are very beneficial in dentistry. They display a patient’s entire mouth on a single x-ray! It includes all teeth of both the upper and lower jaw. This type of x-ray requires a special machine which rotates around your head (360°) and captures the full jaw. At times this may look and feel very intimidating to some however it is very safe and often uses less radiation than intraoral x-rays.

Cone-beam computed tomography (3D scan)

  • This type of x-ray provides a 3D image of a patient’s jaw. The same x-ray machine that is used to take a panoramic x-ray is used to take a 3D scan. This allows dentists to observe cross sections of the jaw/teeth. The 3D scan is particularly useful for dental implant preparation and placement.

Lateral Cephalometric x-ray

  • This x-ray captures the entire side of your head! They are very useful when it comes to orthodontic planning as it enables dentists to look at the teeth in relation to the jaw and a patient’s profile.


In addition, radiology imaging software is used to produce, view and process all digital radiology imaging obtained with the x-ray equipment.

Intraoral and extraoral x-rays are an important aspect of dentistry as it

  • increases accuracy when it comes to treatments
  • allows dentists to see the status of your oral health
  • assists in preventing further problems by detecting any abnormalities.

At VIP Dental Clinic we are proud to say that we have the most advanced technology when it comes to radiology imaging.  This technology allows us to diagnose, plan and design a vast range of treatments achieving highest levels of accuracy and safety.

Book an assessment appointment with us today! Call us on 02 9531 1312 at our Miranda location or 02 9460 8909 at our St Leonards location.  Alternatively you may book online via our booking page.

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