An Overview Of Various Forms Of Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays are useful for the diagnosis and treatment of various dental ailments. You can even get dental x-rays as part of your routine dental checkups. Below are some of the multiple forms of dental x-rays your dentist may prescribe.


A bitewing x-ray is designed to capture details of your teeth in both the upper and lower jaw at the same time. This type of x-ray is useful for detective occlusion changes or orthodontic problems. For example, say you have gone to your dentist for dental alignment. The dentist may give you a bitewing x-ray so that they can know the degree of misalignment you are dealing with. During the procedure, the dentist may give you a thin, flat material (such as a piece of paper) to bite down on between your teeth. The material helps the dentist to see how well your teeth line up.


A panoramic dental x-ray is designed to show the entire mouth, specifically the hard tissues, on a single x-ray. Such an x-ray captures all the teeth on both jaws, both jawbones, and the nasal area. To do this, the dentist sets up an x-ray machine to rotate around your head so that it can capture your mouth from all angles.

A panoramic x-ray is a great diagnostic tool for examining jaw problems. For example, if the dentist wants to examine the respective sizes of your jawbones, their joints, and how the bones line up, the dentist may give you a panoramic x-ray.


For an occlusal x-ray, the focus is not the teeth, but rather the floor or roof of the mouth. Therefore, the occlusal x-ray is a wide view x-ray that captures all the teeth in a single jaw, plus the floor of the mouth (for the lower jaw) or the roof of the mouth (for the upper jaw). This is a good x-ray for examining impacted teeth, gum problems, and other issues that might affect the floor or roof of the mouth.


This type of x-ray shows the whole tooth structure, from the crown (the visible part of the tooth above the gum) to the root of the tooth deep within the jawbone. This x-ray is useful if the dentist wants to examine a single tooth either in the upper or lower jaw.

Don't hesitate to get an x-ray if your dentist advises you to get one. Visit a dentist such as Thornley Dental to learn more.