The test is performed in the dentist's office. There are many types of dental x-rays. Some are:
Palatal (also called occlusal)
The bitewing shows the crown portions of the top and bottom teeth together when the patient bites on a paper tab.
The periapical shows one or two complete teeth from crown to root.
A palatal or occlusal x-ray captures all the upper and lower teeth in one shot while the film rests on the biting surface of the teeth.
A panoramic x-ray requires a special machine that rotates around the head. The x-ray captures the entire jaws and teeth in one shot. It is used to plan treatment for dental implants, check for impacted wisdom teeth, and detect jaw problems. A panoramic x-ray is not the best method for detecting cavities, unless the decay is very advanced and deep.
In addition, many dentists are taking x-rays using digital technology. The image runs through a computer. The amount of radiation given off during the procedure is less than traditional methods. Other types of dental x-rays can create a 3-D picture of the jaw. Cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) may be used prior to dental surgery, especially when multiple implants are being placed.