Dental X-Ray Education: What is a Bitewing?

Posted .

A bitewing X-ray is the most common type of dental X-ray and is named for the wing-shaped, plastic placeholder (or tab) that the patient bites down on while the camera is positioned and pressed up against the cheek. These winged tabs contain the film inside them while the X-ray machine takes the picture.

Your dentist will take two bitewing X-rays, one on each side of the face in order to see the internal workings of the upper and lower molars and bicuspids in a single view. The main reason for this type of X-ray is to help the dentist easily discover any decay hiding between the back teeth. The picture can also be helpful to confirm proper alignment and to discover any bone loss due to advancing periodontal disease or serious infection.

Apart from this, the image provided by a bitewing x-ray allows a clear measurement of root depth, allowing the dentist to see the exact height of the bone between your teeth inside the gums and jawbone. This aids the dentist in predicting advancing periodontal disease and rooting out cavities that are due to receding gum lines.

Normally, because they provide so much vital information, your dentist will want you to have new bitewing X-rays taken every year. They top the list of necessary tools your dentist will use in order to assess the condition of your teeth because these x-rays shine a light on the areas that are more difficult to otherwise see. Detecting cavities and decay inside and in between teeth would be much harder if not impossible without this modern miracle.

If you’re past due for a dental x-ray, call Dr. Jon C. Bauman and our team at Riverdale Dental Center. You can make an appointment at: 303.659.1920, or come by our office in Brighton, Colorado.