Intraoral X-Ray

Intraoral X-ray are a vital part of dental care, and knowing what their impact is on our health is important.

Having an Intraoral X-ray împroves the ability of the dentist to detect dental problems that hide beneath the surface and those that the dentist can’t see with the eyes. There are many types of intraoral X-rays and the uses are different depending on the visual examination carried out by the dentist. Intraoral X-rays are mostly necessary when they are recommended by a dentist, this is because of their capacity to emit radiation which can be dangerous for anyone exposed to the rays for long. This is why their use is mostly contained to the barest minimum.

Some types of intraoral X-rays are listed below:

Periapical Intraoral X-Ray

This is the most common form of Intraoral X-ray. It is done to examine the periapical area of the tooth and the surrounding bone structure.

In carrying out periapical X-ray, usually, a film or digital receptor is placed vertically on the full length of the patient’s teeth and images are then taken. The dentist can use the information to examine the following in a patient’s teeth:

  • Check if the patient has periodontal problems
  • Determine some teeth have not erupted ‘especially in children’ or if the teeth are not positioned properly
  • Detect if there are inflammation or infection in the teeth
  • Use the images taken to prepare the patient for surgical procedures like root canal treatment or extraction of anomalies
  • Use the information to evaluate the state of dental implants.

Most dental patients prefer periapical X-rays or radiographs because it does not take long to complete, it also has the lowest levels of radiation emission, and it is the most common of all other types of Intraoral X-ray.


Bitewing Intraoral X-Ray

The name bitewing refers to a little tab of paper or plastic situated in the center of the X-ray film, which when bitten on, allows the film to hover so that it captures an even amount of maxillary and mandibular information.

Bitewing radiography is a commonly used intraoral imaging technique in oral and maxillofacial radiology. The creation of ideal and diagnostic images is challenging and depends on good technique.

The bitewing radiograph (BW) is an image that depicts the maxillary and mandibular crowns of the teeth, providing a clear image of the interproximal surfaces of the teeth and allowing for detection of interproximal caries.

Routine bitewing radiographs are commonly used to examine for interdental caries and recurrent caries under existing restorations. When there is extensive bone loss, the films may be situated with their longer dimension in the vertical axis to better visualize their levels in relation to the teeth.

Occlusal Intraoral X-Ray

The occlusal intraoral X-Ray reveals the skeletal structure of either the floor of the mouth or the palate.

The occlusal film, which is about three to four times the size of the film used to take a periapical or bitewing, and it is inserted into the mouth to entirely separate the maxillary and mandibular teeth, and the film is exposed either from under the chin or angled down from the top of the nose.

The occlusal view is not included in the standard full mouth series.

Anterior oblique occlusal mandible – 45°

Technique: the collimator is positioned in the midline, thru the chin aiming an angle of 45° to the image receptor which is placed centrally into the mouth, on to the occlusal surface of the lower arch.


1) Periapical status of lower incisor teeth for patients who cannot tolerate periapical radiographs.

2) Assess the size of lesions such as cyst or tumors at the anterior area of the mandible

Lateral oblique occlusal mandible – 45°

Technique: The collimator is positioned from below and behind the angle of mandible and parallel to the lingual surface of the mandible, aiming upwards and forwards at the image receptors which is placed centrally into the mouth, on to the occlusal surface of the lower arch. Patients must turn their heads away from the side of the investigation.


1) Detection of any sialoliths in submandibular salivary glands

2) Used to demonstrate unerupted lower 8’s

3) Assess the size of lesions such as cyst or tumors in the posterior of the body and angle of the mandible.


With these three types of Intraoral X-rays, a dentist can accurately diagnose the state of a patient’s teeth with more precision and prescribe the right form of treatment for each ailment. It is always advised that you seek professional advice from a dentist at Bellevue Dental clinic when you require an intraoral X-ray.

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