Two most used types of dental x-rays are the Intraoral and Extraoral. Intraoral x-rays are taken inside the mouth. They are commonly used due to the scope of information they provide. They “see” the health of the tooth, the root and bone structure surrounding the tooth. This helps to monitor the general health of the teeth and jawbone.
Extraoral focuses mainly on the jaw and skull. Their purpose is to locate impacted teeth and to assess the growth and development of the jaw in relation to the teeth. Potential issues between teeth and jaws (temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or other bones in the face are clearly evident with this type of x-ray.
Extraoral x-rays are helpful when orthodontic work is needed. It gives a panoramic view of the patient’s mouth including upper and lower jaws. It is to the advantage of the orthodontist who can then recommend the proper orthodontic procedure necessary to correct the teeth, or jaw. It is also useful in the detection of mouth tumors.