WHY IS A DENTAL X-RAY IMPORTANT?
No one can argue with the importance of an x-ray for a possible fracture, but what about an x-ray for the mouth? Why are you going to the dentist in that weird ungodly vest and drooling all over a plastic bite plate? Is my tooth broken? What are you looking for there? And everything’s safe? The fact is that dental X-rays are extremely important. Your work? To diagnose or take a look at what is really going on in your mouth. You are probably wondering why an X-ray is necessary when you are in impeccable dental health or have a dentist who is perfectly capable of examining it for himself. Read on to find out why you and your family need dental X-rays.
What is a dental x-ray?
X-rays, or x-rays, allow your dentist to see things inside your mouth at a deeper level. To provide patients with the best possible care, dentists know that a simple visual exam is not enough. Dental X-rays are an excellent diagnostic tool that can help your dentist detect damage or disease that is not visible to the naked eye. X-rays allow dentists to accurately diagnose and treat dental problems and respond to oral problems in a proactive rather than reactive manner.
What is dental X-ray used for?
Dentists can see not just the visible part of the tooth on an X-ray, but everything from the tip of the root to the bone under the gums. These x-rays help your dentist diagnose specific or isolated symptoms you may have. Diseases that dentists can examine with X-rays range from simple cavities and their number to periodontal disease, bone loss, cysts, abscesses, and other masses that can be detected early on. Dentists can also identify the number of wisdom teeth present, as well as missing or impacted teeth, which means faster and more effective care for you.
How does a dental X-ray work?
During a routine visit to your dentist, you will usually have an X-ray taken. These x-rays usually consist of two to four bitewing x-rays, which can show your dentist more about the crown parts of your teeth and detect signs of decay. These x-rays are taken with a bite plate between the teeth and the x-ray machine is positioned on each side of the face. Panoramic X-rays of the outside of the mouth are taken and give your dentist an image of the entire oral cavity in one large photo. During a panoramic x-ray, the x-ray machine moves around the circumference of your head to get a complete image. This x-ray shows all of the teeth, including the jaw bones and sinuses, and can be a great way to detect jaw disorders and any irregularities that may occur. X-rays are harmless, but they give off only small amounts of radiation. To eliminate the risk, dentists wear a lead apron to cover your body and, if necessary, a lead thyroid collar. These precautions are taken to reduce risk and allow for the least amount of radiation possible. Both types of X-rays are quick and painless, taking no more than a few minutes of your time. However, the benefits can last a lifetime.
How often should I have x-rays?
Although it can vary from person to person, you should have an X-ray at least during your annual or semi-annual dental appointment and teeth cleaning. Due to the unpredictability and vulnerability of their teeth, children often require more X-rays than adults. New patients generally require a higher number of X-rays than normal to ensure optimal oral health and to determine the general condition of your mouth for reference. If it’s been a while since you’ve had an X-ray and you want this preventative measure to ensure optimal dental health, schedule an appointment with West Chester Dental Arts today. We are happy to take care of you and look forward to seeing you!