The Types of Dental X-rays Explained - Southern Dental Care

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7301 Westbank Expy., Marrero, LA 70072

The Types of Dental X-Rays Explained

A visit to the dentist usually includes dental x-rays, which are an important part of assessing overall oral health. However, you may be wondering about the different types of dental x-rays taken and what they say about your mouth and teeth. Here’s an overview of why x-rays are important and what kind you can expect when you visit the dentist.

Why X-Rays?

Though a lot can be learned from viewing a patient’s teeth with the naked eye, x-rays offer a deeper look that can help prevent or diagnose issues within the mouth. Extraoral x-rays are taken outside of the mouth, and intraoral x-rays are taken inside of the mouth. Intraoral x-rays are the most common and are preferred due to the detail that can be seen.

What Can be Learned From X-rays?

  • If there are cavities in between teeth
  • If adult teeth are developing properly
  • If the mouth is free of tumors
  • If the jaw is properly aligned

What Kinds of X-rays are There?

While there are a wide variety of oral x-rays available, the most popular intraoral and extraoral x-rays are the following:


  • Bitewing: This type of x-ray allows the dentist to see the upper and lower teeth in a certain part of the mouth. Tooth decay and gum disease can be viewed using this x-ray, and these are also sometimes necessary to properly fit a crown over a tooth.
  • Periapical: Periapical x-rays show the entire tooth. That means that even the bone supporting the tooth can be viewed using this x-ray, which is extremely useful in assessing oral health and preventing future problems.
  • Occlusal: Occlusal are used when the floor of the mouth needs to be seen. The bite of the jaws is visible this way.


  • Panoramic: A panoramic x-ray is exactly what it sounds like: a full view x-ray that shows not only the teeth but the jaw and nasal areas near the mouth. This type of x-ray is used when implants are needed or when orthodontic work needs to take place. Panoramic x-rays are also helpful when looking for tumors within the mouth since they offer such a large view.

Dental x-rays are painless and safe, which is why they are a great choice for diagnosing or treating oral problems. A collection of all different types of dental x-rays taken over years of a patient’s life can show changes that point to gum disease or other dental problems. Southern Dental Care will help you find any dental problems and treat them so you can experience overall oral health.

So if you notice pain or problems with your teeth, give us a call at 504-347-1014 or you can simply fill out the Schedule an Appointment form to the right of the page. We look forward to hearing from you!