What Are Periapical X-Rays?

Dentists now have a variety of types of x-rays to choose from, and can look at them in all sorts of ways. Dr. Bart Kreiner, who runs his own dental practice, Dr. Kreiner Family Dentistry, in Bel Air, Maryland, talks here about periapical x-rays, which show the entire tooth, including the root.

Periapical xrays show the entire tooth on the picture. The difference between periapical and check-up x-rays, also called bite wing x-rays, is that with the bite wings you only see the top half of the tooth. But with the periapicals you see all the tooth including the root tip, and you see all the supporting structures around the root and its tooth.

Periapical x-rays add value. The value is for looking at the health of the bone around the tooth and to make sure that the tooth has not died. The technology, strictly speaking, is not new, but these types of x-rays are valuable when looking at the entire tooth and the root in particular.

Latest Technology

The new technology now when it comes to x-rays are computerized x-rays. Digital computer x-rays compare with traditional x-rays, traditional ones are with film, the digital are with x-rays. Periapical x-rays can be done with x-ray film or a computerized sensor.

My office only does computerized radiography. With computer sensors, we take three types of x-rays, which are:

  • A panograph
  • Periapical x-rays
  • Bite wing x-rays

Those three types of x-rays all describe a technique of looking at the tooth and the bone. The difference is whether you are looking at a computer screen or whether you are reading an x-ray film.

In my opinion, looking at a computer screen far surpasses looking at film. Your ability to diagnose is enhanced, you can blow up the picture and see more detail, you can use contrast programs to make certain things stand out. It’s faster and it’s also that much greener because there are no x-ray chemicals, no developer or fixer or wash water to be disposed of and handled.

It takes several minutes to process an x-ray film. In just two seconds, you can process an image from a computerized or digital sensor. So you can see there are real benefits with the amount of time involved, not to mention anything else.

*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.

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