3 Types Of Extraoral X-Rays Your Dentist Might Order

by Terrence Mills

Dentist visits are listed among the most common fears for adults and children alike. Part of the fear likely comes from an uncertainty of what exactly each procedure will entail. X-rays are a common dental procedure that can cause nervousness due to perceived danger and questions about how and why each scan is performed.

Extraoral x-rays are one of the most common classifications of scans. An extraoral x-ray involves the dentist placing the x-ray film on the exterior of the mouth for a broader scan than interoral allows. There are different types of extraoral x-rays dentists order and each serves a slightly different purpose.

1. Panoramic

A panoramic x-ray is one of the most comprehensive scans available and can take images of the entire span of each jaw. The way those images are taken can seem intimidating to patients.

Your dentist will position you carefully in a chair with your head and chin positioned against a device that will hold your head into place. There are pieces of the machine in front of and behind your head that will both take scans at the same time to get the best, broadest pictures possible during the scan.

This type of scan is particularly good for diagnosing bite issues that occur when the upper and lower teeth or jaws aren't lined up properly. The scan can be the first step in an orthodontic treatment process to correct the bite issue.

2. Cephalometric Projections

This type of x-ray is also commonly used in orthodontic treatments. A cephalometric gives a closer, detailed view of the jaw and the teeth and includes a scan of the facial structures to establish a relationship between oral placement and general facial profile.

Cephalometric scans are helpful when drastic orthodontic treatment is needed to correct a severe bite issue such as an overbite caused by the jaw shifting out of place. So these scans often precede a surgical procedure to correct the jaw in some way.

3. Cone-Beam Computed Tomography

Cone-beam computed tomography, or CT, differs from the other scans in that it renders a three-dimensional image. The x-ray machine will actually spin around you to make sure each angle of the head is accounted for and captured.

A CT scan is helpful in dental situations where depth is a significant factor. This often arises when you need a dental implant, which has a metal root that needs to be implanted to the right depth and position in the jawbone or the implant won't have a stable root.

To learn more about dental care, contact a dental clinic like Sherwood Park Dental Care Centre