Why Dental X-rays are Important
Valuable Diagnostic Tool
X-rays, also called radiographs, give your dentist the ability to see between and inside your teeth. We can also view the tip of your roots and bone underneath your gums – places not normally 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 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, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), 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.
Other radiographs include occlusal X-rays, which are occasionally taken in children to evaluate their developing teeth; and cephalometric X-rays, used by orthodontists when planning orthodontic treatment.
How Often Are X-rays Needed?
Everyone’s oral health varies, and as a result, the dentist will evaluate your needs and recommend an X-ray schedule accordingly. If you’re a new patient, the dentist may advise taking a full mouth series of X-rays or panoramic image to assess your current oral health state, and use this as a baseline going forward. As you continue your regular checkup visits, fewer X-rays are needed to monitor the status of your oral health.
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 kept at a minimum. Hillside Dental uses digital X-rays, which further reduces radiation exposure. We also use the added recommendation of a leaded apron to cover the abdominal area and a leaded collar to protect the thyroid. Always let your dentist know if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, though necessary X-rays don’t have to be avoided as long as you’re wearing a fitted lead apron and thyroid collar.