During the most common type of x-ray, the bitewing, you bite down on a piece of plastic with an x-ray film in the center. A dental professional positions a scanner outside your mouth near the tooth and shines x-rays through your cheek and the tooth. These images are captured on the film.
During digital x-rays, you hold an electronic pad or sensor in your mouth, and the image is sent directly to a computer.
During panoramic x-rays, you keep your chin steady on a tray while the scanner circles your head.