Dental x-rays are x-rays done to help determine the state of an individual’s oral hygiene. It is used to determine how good a person’s oral hygiene is. It is also used to diagnose dental defects and determine how to treat them.
It is essential to know that as human beings, our dental health affects our physical, psychological, and mental health too. This is why dentists in Liberty Village Dental in Toronto educate patients on the need to come in regularly for dental x-rays to detect any problems and treat them before they get severe.
How does a Dental X-ray work
When people hear of dental x-rays, they often think of procedures and more procedures. But dental x-rays are just as easy as teeth cleanings. The process involves a small amount of radiation passes through the mouth that captures a picture of the teeth, gums, and tissues. The teeth absorb more radioactivity and appear lighter than the gums on the radiograph (the x-ray image).
If there is tooth decay or infection, it appears darker on the image because it cannot take in much of the x-rays. It is a procedure practiced every day by dentists and oral surgeons in planning treatments for oral diseases.
Uses of Dental X-rays
- They are used to perform follow-up dental checkups.
- They show the presence of cavities
- They help the dentist see the whole picture to determine the kind of tooth problem
- It helps to determine what kind of tooth implants, dentures are needed by showing the position of the teeth.
- It shows if the tooth has been subjected to periodontal diseases and if teeth replacements are needed.
- It shows if there are tumors in the mouth
- It shows abscesses.
- It shows the dentist’s tooth problems that cannot be seen in an oral exam.
- It saves money by discovering the problem on time and treating it before it gets worse. In the case of periodontal diseases, it can detect gingivitis before it gets severe and spreads to the body’s other organs.
How often are dental X-rays needed?
This depends on the reason why you need an X-ray. People without dental health issues can go without doing dental X-rays for years, while others with oral health problems might be requested to make periodic check-ins after treatments to ensure that there is no reoccurrence. Panoramic X-rays are done on new patients by doctors to evaluate their overall oral health.
Are dental X-rays safe?
This is a question commonly asked by people and a significant reason why individuals are discouraged from seeing the dentist. Although dental X-rays expose you to some level of radiation, it is also known that the harmful effects are meager.
This is because dentists take particular care in ensuring that the procedure goes well. However, if still concerned about your safety, you can request leaded protection to cover your body.
It is important to note that observing good dental hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing regularly is an excellent way to avoid having a reason to go for dental X-rays. As they say, prevention is safer and better than looking for a cure.
Types of dental X-rays
- Periapical X-rays:
A periapical X-ray captures the picture of the whole tooth from crown to root. They are used to observe if there are slight changes in the root or the surrounding bone. They also show a portion of the lower and the upper teeth.
A film with a rod attached to it is put into the patient’s mouth, and the patient bites on it firmly to produce a clear image.
- Bitewing X-rays:
Unlike the periapical X-ray that shows a portion of the upper and bottom teeth, bitewing X-rays can only capture a specific area of the mouth. To get a complete picture of your entire mouth, the dentist will carry out more than one X-ray scan. The X-ray aids dentists in detecting decay between the teeth and alterations in the jaw bone affected by gum disease that might be hard to find in a typical oral exam.
It can be done using traditional or digital X-rays.
2. Occlusal X-rays:
This type of X-ray is larger than most other dental X-rays because it shows the entire arch of the upper teeth or bottom at a time. It is used to monitor tooth development and growth, especially in children.
3. Panoramic X-rays:
Panoramic X-ray captures the image of the entire mouth from undeveloped, developing to fully emerged teeth. The rotating hand of the machine makes a half-circle around the head while recording the mouth. It then shows a complete picture, unlike other X-rays capable of filming one part at a time.