Beam Hardening

X-ray technology works by utilizing a phenomenon known as “beam hardening.” When an x-ray passes through an object, two things occur: photons that have lower energy are absorbed, while photons with higher energy are left behind. This allows an image to be created of structures within the object that are of higher energy. Skin, for example, has a lower energy level than bone. Bone, however, has a lower energy level than metal. This results in varying shades of gray that can be seen on an x-ray — metal is typically opaque white, while bones are semi-translucent. Folds of skin may be seen, however, most often, soft structures of the body like skin and muscle are completely transparent. Beam hardening technology allows dental professionals to isolate and assess internal oral structures like dental implant screws, tooth roots, and underlying bone to determine the overall best approach for completing dental restorations.