Dental x-rays play an important role in general dentistry, making it easier for dentists to diagnose and treat diseases.
Dental X-rays (radiographs) are pictures of your teeth that your dentist uses to evaluate your oral health. These low-level radiation X-rays are used to capture an image of the inner surface of your mouth(teeth and gums). This can help your dentist detect problems like cavities, tooth decay, and impacted teeth.
To provide you with the answers you seek, your dentist will first perform a visual examination. However, a visual examination does not always provide all of the necessary information. This is where X-rays can be useful. They assist dentists in detecting potential decay or diseases that are not visible to the naked eye.
So, Why Are Dental X-Rays Necessary?
1. Complete Picture of your Dental Health:
Dental X-rays are essential because they provide your dentist with a complete picture. They aid dentists in assessing the condition of your teeth, as well as the roots, jaw placement, and facial bone composition. They will assist your dentist in detecting and treating dental issues before they become too serious or advanced.
2. Diagnose Dental Infections:
Radiographs/dental x-rays are used to diagnose dental infections. With the images, the dentist can diagnose or ‘discover’ gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental conditions early on.
3. Decay Problems:
If the dentist conducts the exam with his bare eyes, he is more likely to miss potential tooth decay problems. According to some studies, if the dentist only performs visual exams, you have an 80% chance of developing a cavity problem. Adult teeth x-rays are also used to look at the roots, jaw, and other structures in the mouth.
What Do Dental X-Rays Reveal?
Dental X-rays can reveal:
- Small decayed areas between teeth
- deterioration beneath fillings
- Tumors such as cysts and other types of tumors
- Periodontal disease which causes bone loss in the jaw.
- The position of the teeth determines whether a tooth implant, braces, or dentures are required.
Various types of X-rays
There are various types of dental X-rays, each of which captures a slightly different view of your mouth. Intraoral X-rays, for example, are the most common.
Biting down on a special piece of paper allows your dentist to see how well the crowns of your teeth match up. This is a common method for detecting cavities between teeth (interdental).
When your jaw is closed, this X-ray is taken to see how your upper and lower teeth line up. It can also detect anatomical abnormalities in the mouth floor or palate. This method captures all of your teeth in a single shot.
The machine rotates around the head for this type of X-ray. This technique may be used by your dentist to examine your wisdom teeth, plan for implanted dental devices, or investigate jaw problems.
This method focuses on two entire teeth, from root to crown.
When your dentist suspects that there may be problems in areas other than the gums and teeth, such as the jaw, extraoral X-rays may be used.
Each step of the X-ray procedure will be walked through by a dental hygienist. They may leave the room for a few moments while the photographs are being taken. You will be instructed to remain motionless while the photographs are taken. If spacers (film holders) are used, they will be moved and adjusted in your mouth to obtain the correct images.
Are Dental X-Rays Risky?
While we’ve discussed the significance of dental radiographs, you may still be concerned about their safety. Dental X-rays are completely safe, according to the American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy. While they do expose you to low levels of radiation, the harmful effects are also low. However, you can always request an additional layer of protection such as a leaded apron to cover your abdomen or a leaded collar to protect your thyroid.
Furthermore, prevention is always preferable to cure. Brushing twice a day and flossing on a regular basis can help to prevent tooth decay and reduce the need for X-rays.
Getting a dental X-ray may not be a pleasant experience. But don’t forget that they’re a valuable tool for detecting tooth decay and other dental problems as early as possible, saving you money and pain while keeping your smile wide and bright!