In general, dental offices rely on four types of x-rays, or radiographs. They are the panoramic, full mouth series, bite wings and periapical x-rays.



A panoramic x-ray is done by a machine that goes around the patient’s head. They are frequently used to determine the presence of wisdom teeth.





full mouth series


A full mouth series usually consists of 18 to 21 individual images, showing each tooth and the surrounding bone. This gives an overall view of every tooth, including the roots of each tooth.




bite wings


Bite wings are the most common,and are usually taken during a cleaning appointment, at intervals appropriate to the individual patient. While the panoramic and full mouth series are effective tools to see a bigger picture, the bite wings enable the dental staff to diagnose what is happening between the teeth. They are most helpful in detecting decay.



 A periapical x-ray is one that shows an entire tooth, from the crown, to the root and surrounding bone structure. These are often the most useful in determining the cause of dental pain.