The Importance of Dental X-Rays

the importance of dental x-rays

Dental x-rays work in a similar manner as a regular x-ray. However, they are made to provide imaging of the teeth. With the help of dental x-rays, the dentist can analyze the health of an individual’s mouth. The x-ray machine employs low levels of radiation to provide imaging of both the teeth and gums. Giving dentists the ability to identify oral problems such as tooth decay, impacted teeth, and cavities. 

It is recommended that individuals get dental x-rays at least once every year. Your dentist can recommend getting it more often if you are facing any oral threat or being treated for one. There are some factors that determine how often an individual can get dental x-rays done which include:

  • Age
  • Oral health
  • Shown symptoms of possible oral disease
  • History of tooth decay or gum disease such as gingivitis

All dentist request for new patients to get a dental x-ray done so they can evaluate your gums and teeth. Your dentist may ask parents to get dental x-rays more often for their children. This is so the dentist can monitor the adult teeth as they grow and come in. It will also notify the dentist if there is a need to have baby teeth pulled out so there are no complications as the adult ones come in.

Risks associated with dental x-rays

Some people have a concern with getting x-rays done. The machine exposes the body to radiation and radiation is known to be a cause of cancer. We asked our friend, Dr. Taher Dhoon, a dentist in Greeley, CO about risks associated with dental x-rays. Dr. Dhoon says, “There’s no need to worry. Rest assured, dental x-rays use a low level of radiation, the same amount individuals typically are exposed to year around from the environment they live in. “

During the dental x-ray, a piece of cloth or bib will also be placed on the chest so it protects the region from radiation. But of course, women that are pregnant should avoid x-rays altogether, no matter which type. So it is important that you inform your dentist if you are pregnant getting a dental x-ray.

Getting prepared for a dental x-ray

There is no particular thing you need to do to prepare for a dental x-ray. But Dr. Jordan Smith from ThoroughDent Smiles does recommend you brush your teeth before. It is important that the mouth is clean before the examination and brushing it before you go to the dentist makes it easier. 

Different types of dental x-rays

There are different types of dental x-rays that provide different views of the inside of an individual’s mouth. These are:

  • Bitewing: A special piece of paper is used by dentists to determine how well a patient’s crowns match up. The patient bites down on the piece of paper which helps the dentist analyze if they have cavities between the teeth. 
  • Occlusal: Used to determine how the jaws line up, the x-ray is done with the jaws closed. It helps determine any anatomical abnormalities with the palate or the floor of the mouth. 
  • Panoramic: Used to check for wisdom teeth or investigate jaw problems. The x-ray rotates around the head to give a full panoramic view of the mouth.
  • Periapical: This method is more focused and gives images from the root to the crown of two teeth.

A dental specialist will be there to guide you through the process. They may step out while the x-ray takes the images. You will be required to hold as still as possible so the images are clear and stable. 

After your dental exam

Your dentist will review the images to look for any abnormalities. If there are any problems, they will discuss treatments and how to tackle it right away. They will also look for any threats and guide you on how you can prevent the threat from becoming a problem.

A dental x-ray is as important as going for your routine dental checkup. If you go to a dentist regularly then they themselves will recommend you to get a dental x-ray done. It is after all vital to maintaining good oral health.