Dental X-Rays – A Simple Overview
Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential preventative diagnostic tools that provide valuable information during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
Abscesses or cysts.
Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
Decay between the teeth.
Poor tooth and root positions.
Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Different Types of Dental X-Rays
It’s common to think that a radiograph procedure has only one type of dental x-ray output. Basically, there are numerous types of dental x-rays, and all of them have specific purposes and nature.
Occlusal – Dentists pick this option to observe the state of your upper and bottom teeth. This dental x-ray procedure has the potential to detect abnormalities in the floor of your mouth or in the palate.
Panoramic – If you have a complicated dental situation, your dentist will pick the panoramic dental x-ray option. You’ll be placed under a rotating x-ray machine that will get x-ray shots of your mouth. This procedure is often used for checking your wisdom teeth, dental implants, and bothersome jaw problems.
Periapical – This type of dental x-ray procedure is focused on examining two complete sets of teeth. It covers everything from the crown to the root. Your dentist will choose this option to determine root problems and changes in bone structure.
By knowing about the types of dental radiograph procedures, you’ll have an increased awareness about your oral health. This is a clear advantage that will help you understand the dentist more.
Are dental x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast film that cuts down the exposure time of each x-ray. Nowadays, dental x-ray machines are advanced enough to gather information without exposing a patient to high levels of radiation.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.
A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
After taking a dental x-ray from a reliable clinic, you will have the proper insight on dealing with your current oral health problem. Usually, a dental x-ray procedure is the first step before getting a follow-up dental work or even a surgery. Be sure to communicate with your dentist regading the proper oral care strategies that must be taken. Additionally, you can try applying for a dental plan to reduce any upcoming expenses.
Here at Lancaster Dental, your Kitchener dentist, we’re ready to help. Please contact our dental office today if you want to book an appointment!