What type of x-ray is best in exposing tooth decay in all teeth?

Jul 18, 2020
I want to be able to detect any tooth decay (cavity) I might have in any of my teeth...so a test to check all my teeth.

Is panoramic x-ray the ideal x-ray for this?

Also, does the equipment used make a big difference? If I am to take the xray at a lab to then take the exposure/s to a dentist at another clinic, what should I make sure about in terms of the equipment used so that I know the xray would be the best I could get.
As an anology, if I were shopping for a powerful car (the car being the xray machine), I would ask about the horsepower and the number of cylinders to access whether the car would deliver the best performance.

Thanks in advice for any feedback!


Verified Dentist
Jun 14, 2018
I recommend Full Mouth X-rays to check for cavities. Unfortunately it may not reach far back enough to capture wisdom teeth 3rd molars. Pano x-ray will capture them but it won't detect small in-between cavities like individual FMX can. Pano can also detect bone disease, tumors, etc. A lot of dentists may not have Pano machine because they are expensive. All dental x-rays are digital and can manipulate contrasts to identify difficult lesions. If a dentist/specialist/surgeon will be placing implants, biopsies, and root canals, he/she will benefit from Cone Beam Computed Tomography to get 3-D imaging. It will detect anatomic sites that 2-D cannot capture like sinus and nerve anatomies when placing implants, cancer/tumors for oral surgeons, and difficult root anatomies for root canals. If you want a Ferrari x-ray capabilities, you will need all 3 x-rays. The costs will not justify obtaining them unless you are doing a lot of the 3-D dependent procedures (surgeries).


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