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How Have Dental X-Rays Changed?


Posted on 5/1/2024 by Lakewood Dental Arts
Dentist evaluating digital xraysIt is natural to assume that dental X-rays have always been part of dentistry. In fact, modern dentistry and X-ray technology have evolved together. The very first X-rays taken when X-rays were invented were dental X-rays. How have dental X-rays evolved over the last 125 years? Here is some information about modern dental X-rays.

The First X-Rays


The very first X-rays were accidental. William Roentgen discovered that by accelerating electrons and directing their flow, you could take pictures of structures in the body never seen before. It was only a matter of time before dental X-rays were produced. However, the first X-rays took forever to develop, which was not conducive to patient care. Most dentists did not use X-rays until the 1950s.

An Increase in X-Ray Use


Gradually, inventors began to accelerate the electrons more quickly, which means that as time passed, X-rays became faster. The faster the X-rays could be developed, the easier and more commonplace they became in dentistry. You may remember these dental X-rays from your childhood. They were called bitewing X-rays.

With bitewing X-rays, a dental hygienist had a piece of X-ray material surrounded by cardboard. You bit down on a piece of the X-ray and held still while the hygienist snapped the X-ray picture. Usually, you had to pose for four to six X-rays at a time, and the bitewing X-rays were not comfortable to bite down on.

The Advent of Digital X-Rays


Digital X-rays began to be used frequently in dental practices in the 1990s. They involve a computer sensor taking and transmitting pictures from your mouth to a computer in our dental office. Digital X-rays have a lot of positives over traditional X-rays. Digital X-rays are portable, so you and our dentist can have an instant copy, and they can be transmitted via email quickly. Also, digital X-rays are instantly available, so our dentist can have a look at your X-rays while you are still in their exam room. Most patients say that digital X-rays are far more comfortable to sit for than traditional bitewing X-rays.

Are you ready for your next set of X-rays? Contact us for an appointment today.

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