Radiographs (X-rays) are essential preventative and diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a clinical oral examination. When possible, we try to utilize digital X-rays that are supplied by your family dentist. If they are not available, not diagnostic for our examination or are over six (6) months old, (especially in the growing patient), new X-ray examinations  may be required.

Digital X-rays taken at KOS expose you to 80% less radiation than conventional radiographs. Digital radiography also eliminates the environmentally hazardous waste products produced by conventional radiograph processing.  Digital X-rays are sent to a computer and can be emailed, printed, or saved.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons use the following X-rays to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete a thorough clinical examination. IMPORTANT: Before the X-ray examination, tell the Assistant if you are or might be pregnant.

Panoramic X-rays show a broad view of the jaws, teeth, sinuses, nasal area, and temporomandibular (jaw) joints. These X-rays are not ideal to identify cavities. These X-rays do show problems such as impacted teeth, bone abnormalities, cysts, solid growths (tumors), infections, and fractures.

Periapical X-rays show the entire tooth, from the exposed crown to the end of the root and the bone that support the tooth. These X-rays are used to find dental problems above or below the gum line or in the jaw, such as: decay, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts, tumors, and bone changes linked to some diseases.

Occlusal X-rays show multiple teeth and the roof or floor of the mouth. They are used to find extra teeth, teeth that have not yet broken through the gums, jaw fractures, a cleft in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate), cysts, abscesses, or growths. Occlusal X-rays may also be used to find a foreign object.

In certain cases, more in depth X-ray evaluation of the facial skeleton may be required and you may be referred for comprehensive facial bone X-rays, CAT SCANS  or MRI.  These X-ray studies are usually done at another outpatient or hospital facility.

Dental X-rays may reveal:

  • Impacted teeth
  • Abscessed teeth
  • Cysts, tumors, and other pathology affecting the teeth or jaws
  • Bone loss (known as atrophy)
  • Skeletal and Developmental abnormalities
  • Alteration of tooth and root positions
  • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
  • Fractures of the facial skeleton
  • Periodontal bone loss

Detecting and treating problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth and smile!


According to the American College of Radiology, no single diagnostic X-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus (baby). Dental work while pregnant such as cavity fillings and crowns should be performed to reduce the chance of infection. If dental work is done during pregnancy, consultation with your OB/GYN will be sought.  Most OB/GYN physicians are comfortable allowing dental treatment during pregnancy but generally recommend the middle trimester for necessary treatment. Emergency treatment is temporized if possible or completed if necessary. The second trimester is the safest period during gestation for any treatment.