X-Rays Have Changed
If the only way your dentist could examine your teeth was to simply look at them (even with the aid of a strong light and a mirror) many problems could still be hidden. Cavities can hide between the teeth; impacted teeth and gum disease can hide beneath the gums. Eventually, these problems become bad enough to cause pain or to become visible to the naked eye. By then, more extensive corrective treatment is required than if they had been caught when less severe. X-rays reveal much that is happening in hidden places.
Traditional X-rays are produced on photographic film. To be viewed, they are placed in front of a light. However, taking this type of picture imparts a level of radiation that is worrisome, which is why those great, heavy lead aprons were developed for dental patients. It is why the dental hygienist would always disappear around the corner of the room to push the button.
Digital X-Rays (radiography) is filmless X-ray image capture. Much less radiation can be used to produce an image, which can then be digitally enhanced if necessary and then presented on a monitor to the patient for demonstration purposes. The image can also be saved as a permanent part of the patient’s medical record. Print copies made be made for the patient to keep, for insurance companies, or for other specialists that will be involved in treatment.