Hands holding tablet displaying dental digital x-ray of mouth

Dental X-rays are used to look deeper into your dental health. However, many people are concerned about the radiation exposure that comes with X-rays. If this is a big concern for you, digital radiology is a great option.


Here at A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe, we offer only digital radiology because it is safer, it uses less radiation than standard dental X-rays, and it is faster.


Here’s what you need to know about digital radiology and why it’s a better alternative to dental X-rays.


Types of Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays are divided into two categories: intraoral X-rays (where the film is inside the mouth) and extraoral X-rays (where the film is outside the mouth). Once the X-rays are taken, the dentist must develop the film.


Dentist man examining dental X-ray whiledental hygienist woman talks with patient


Intraoral X-rays are the most common dental X-rays used. They provide a high level of detail, generally allowing dentists to examine your teeth for any decay. Common types of intraoral X-rays include periapical, bitewing, and occlusal.


These X-rays allow the dentist to closely evaluate your teeth, the jaw bone, your bite, the development of your teeth (especially for children), and check for tooth decay.


A common type of extraoral X-ray is the panoramic X-ray. This type of X-ray provides an overall picture of your mouth, including teeth, the upper and lower jaws, the jaw joints (TMJ), the nasal area, and the sinuses.


This X-ray is used to check for impacted teeth, bone abnormalities, growths, infections, and fractures.


Digital Radiography

Digital Radiography can take both intraoral and extraoral X-rays.


Much like intraoral X-rays, the dentist will insert a sensor into your mouth to capture images of your teeth when using digital radiography.


Extraoral radiography doesn’t offer a much smaller amount of exposure than standard X-rays, but still offers a better, almost immediate image that is and is easily transferable.


However, unlike with standard dental X-rays, the images are immediately available on the computer. With standard X-rays, the film of your teeth has to be developed, but with digital radiography, the images appear almost instantly.


Woman receiving a digital X-ray at the dentist


The Benefits of Digital Radiography

Along with the benefit of shorter appointments (not waiting for the film to develop), digital radiography provides many other benefits over standard dental X-rays.


Less Radiation

A big concern for many patients is that of being exposed to radiation during X-rays. Although standard X-rays emit only a small amount of radiation, digital radiography exposes you to even less. Digital radiation can use up to 90% less radiation than standard dental X-rays.


Dentist man looking at digital X-ray on computer screen


Better Images

A great advantage digital radiography offers is the ability to zoom in and out of the pictures of your teeth. Standard X-rays are printed and the image cannot be enlarged or altered.


With digital radiography, the dentist can zoom into parts of the picture. The dentist can also alter the image’s brightness, color, and contrast, making small cavities easier to spot.



Because the images are digitally saved, transferring your X-rays is a much simpler process. If you change dentists or need your records for some other reason, the dental office can simply email your records to the appropriate location.


Dentist man looking at X-ray of mouth on computer screen


For more information or to schedule a dental appointment, contact A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe in Sugar Land, Texas. We are committed to providing you and your family with expert dental care.