Many times when we visit our dentist for regular check up, dental X-ray comes up or is mentioned but why do we need dental X-ray?
Through dental X-rays, dentists can accurately diagnose and treat the dental problems early before they become a more serious issue. And if after examining the patient’s mouth and reviewing these images, the dentist finds no cavities or growth issues, you can rest assured he or she has seen the whole picture.
Valuable Diagnostic Tool
X-rays, also called radiographs, gives the dentist the ability to see between and on the inside of your teeth. He can also view the tip of your roots and bone underneath your gums – places not usually visible to the naked eye. Although they are used as part of a routine examination to rule out dental disease, X-rays also aid your dentist in diagnosing any specific or isolated dental problems that you might be experiencing.
Radiographs are used to check for cavities and evaluate the extent of decay. And because some X-rays show the root of the tooth, the presence of any cysts, abscesses and other masses can be diagnosed. Congenitally missing or impacted teeth such as wisdom teeth are often identified this way, and the presence and extent of bone loss due to periodontal disease is easily seen through dental X-rays as well.
How Often Are X-rays Needed?
Everybody’s dental health varies, and as a result, the dentist will evaluate your needs and recommend an X-ray schedule accordingly. If you are a new patient, the dentist may advise taking a full series of X-rays or panoramic image to evaluate your current dental health, and use this as a baseline going forward. As you continue your regular check-up visits, fewer X-rays are needed to monitor the status of your oral health.
Types of X-rays
Bitewing, periapical and panoramic radiographs are the most frequent X-rays used in the dental office. During your routine check-ups, your dentist may take two to four bitewing x-rays – which shows the crown portions of your teeth – to check for early signs of decay between your teeth. When he wants to get a good look at your teeth’s bone height or root tips, periapical X-rays provide the best view to the dentist. The image shows all of the teeth, as well as the upper and lower jaws and sinus areas, this type of X-ray, can identify impaction, cysts, tumors, jaw disorders and bone irregularities.Other radiographs include occlusal X-rays, which are occasionally taken for children to evaluate their developing teeth; and cephalometric X-rays, used by orthodontists when planning orthodontic treatment.
Dental X-rays Safety
Because X-ray machines and other sources of dental radiographs are designed to minimize radiation, these processes are safe, and your exposure is negligible. Many offices, in fact, are now using digital X-rays, which further reduces radiation exposure.
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