What is a Portable Dental X-Ray?

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  • Written By: Lauren Romano
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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A portable dental x-ray is a device that is able to go to the patient as opposed to a standard x-ray machine, which is attached to a wall in a dentist office and requires the patient to be in-office. Some portable devices are completely hand-held while others sit on a stand. Both options often come in carrying cases for easy transport. They are used on patients who don't have the ability to access a dentist's office — those who are home-bound or work in remote undeveloped locations are just some of the patients who benefit from the device.

While many patients see their dentist in-office, others require the dentist and equipment to go to them. Those who are incarcerated, home-bound, in nursing homes, working in underdeveloped locations or stationed on military bases are just some of the patients who may benefit from having access to a portable dental x-ray. Teeth problems could not only be painful but could also cause many health problems. Waiting to access an in-office machine may not be an option depending on the condition.


One type of portable dental x-ray is small, light, cordless and hand-held and can travel almost anywhere considering its compact size. This type of machine is an option for almost every patient, however, it's especially useful for occasionally restless patients, such as young children, who require constant supervision and a quick x-ray. It can also be a better option to use in small spaces. The device works on battery so it's important to have extras on hand in addition to a fully charged battery upon arrival regardless of where the patients are.

The other type of portable dental x-ray is one that uses a power cord and is slightly larger and heavier than the hand-held device; it's also typically more durable. Each comes with a stand, which some dentists might find to be more comfortable and easier to use than a hand-held device. Some may also be able to operate as a hand-held device when using a stand isn't necessary. This type is a good option for dentists who prefer to have the features of each type.

The portable dental x-ray is not only useful to patients, but also to dentists who want to be able to help patients who don't have immediate access to a dental office. Without the device, there is no doubt that quite a few individuals would go without knowing the cause of their tooth pain. Though it doesn't mean they'll seek immediate dental care, it at least increases the chances depending on the results of the x-rays.


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