Thanks to the development of technology, dental radiology is moving towards digital technology, where radiological tools have become increasingly precise and advanced. In many cases it is essential to use the radiographic technique to obtain a correct image of the teeth, the mandibular and maxillary bones and then formulate a correct diagnosis and suggest an appropriate treatment.
There are four types of dental radiological procedure:
- digital endoral radiology;
- panoramic radiography (superior dental arch and inferior in 2D);
- cephalometric radiography (cranial bones);
- cone-beam CBCT (to view the bone part in 3D);
A very popular tool is the orthopantomograph, consisting of a rotating arm containing an X-ray source, which rotating around the patient’s head, allows to have a projection of the arches that will then be imprinted on film.
The radiation dosage is generally very low. According to the American Dental Association, the amount of radiation absorbed during a complete set of mouth radiographs is equivalent to three days exposure to environmental radiation or to an air flight. The exposure of the rays can however be further reduced with the use of a lead shield, such as an apron or collar to protect the thyroid.
There are also radiographic examinations that focus on specific parts, such as radiovisiography (RVG) which allows us to see in detail a single tooth, or intramural radiography.
The term “intraoral” indicates that this type of radiography uses a small plate that is placed inside the patient’s mouth. During the examination of Endoral Radiography, the patient will have to hold the plate (on average 30mm x 40mm), clamping the teeth and biting a plastic support.
The characteristics of the Endoral Radiographs
- Very low amount of radiation.
- They are very detailed.
- They manage to give the dentist a very precise idea of the dental condition and the oral cavity.
When do we use the Endoral Radiography
- To find a hidden caries between the teeth.
- During the devitalization, to highlight the shape of the roots and the possible presence of lateral root canals that need to be sealed.
- During implant surgery, to avoid causing damage to the dental roots or the mandibular canal.