A bitewing is a type of X-ray image which is taken by the dentist to access oral health or to look at a particular area off the mouth. It is the most common type of dental X-ray. Most people who have received X-rays at the dental office have gotten a bite wing X-ray, and they have been shown the film by the dentist in the process of having a procedure or situation explained.
Sometimes, the dentist will order a complete set of bitewing X-rays, in which the entire mouth is X-rayed with a series of progressive overlapping images. This is usually done when the patient first visits the dental office, or if the patient has not visited the office for a long time.
It can be uncomfortable for a patient to receive a bitewing X-ray, especially if he or she has a small mouth, because the film itself is bigger in size and hard. While taken the X-ray, you have to close your mouth—whereby the bitewing, due to its size, may pinch the tissue. Most dental offices are well aware of the comfort issue, and the staff have tips to help the patient with the unpleasant sensation.
Getting X-rays is important because they can reveal early signs of dental problems which are not visible on a basic examination. Bitewings can reveal information about how the teeth are developing, whether or not teeth are moving and becoming crowded, and if signs of decay are present in the mouth