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Dental X-Rays

Dental X-Rays

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, comparable to light, but is able to penetrate solids. It is used to take photos of the inside of the body. The images created are recorded on a computer or film, to be used for various medical diagnoses.

X-rays are commonly used to check for broken bones, but they are also used in other ways, like chest x-rays to spot pneumonia, mammograms use x-rays to check for breast cancer, and dental x-ray is used to check the mouth for oral problems.

Dental x-ray is a tool used by the dentist to assess the condition of the teeth and find bone loss, cavities, unseen dental structures and problems, inside the mouth.

Teeth x-rays can reveal common issues like tooth decay and periodontal disease, and even other more complicated issues as infections and cysts. They can also help the dentist identify possible oral care issues and prevent them from becoming a problem.

Types of Dental X-Rays and Their Uses

Dental x-rays help dentists diagnose ordinary oral problems, by enabling them to actually see the condition in the mouth. Without these x-rays, the dentists will not be able to see inside the tooth and beneath the gums to better diagnose the problem, if any, and recommend a solution.

There are two kinds of dental x-rays, one taken inside the mouth, and another taken outside of the mouth. The x-rays taken inside the mouth are the most common dental x-ray used, because they show a highly detailed image of the tooth, bone and auxiliary tissues of the mouth. They help dentists to:

  • Find cavities
  • Look at the roots of the teeth
  • Check the bony area on all sides of the tooth
  • See the status of growing teeth
  • Observe good tooth health

The x-rays taken outside of the mouth are used for less common issues because they are less detailed. However, they perform differently, but likewise important functions too, like:

  • Assessing the bones of the face
  • Keeping track of growth and development
  • Looking at the condition of impacted teeth
  • Studying the teeth and jaws

How is X-Ray Performed?

The dental x-ray is usually done with the patient sitting on the dental chair in the dental office. A small x-ray is pointed at the mouth area and focused on the oral issue.

Several different x-ray views of the mouth may be taken. X-rays are painless, but some devices may be inserted in the mouth and cause a little discomfort for a short time.

The amount of radiation from an x-ray is relatively small, but a lead apron is usually provided for increased safety.
Risks of Using X-Ray

Recent studies show that exposures to dental x-rays may be a risk for cancer. However, the cancer risk in dental x-rays is very minimal, and it should not prevent people from obtaining dental care if they need one.

The dentist, who knows the patient’s history and weaknesses, is in the best position to decide in the interest of the patient.

In addition, without the help of the x-rays, the dentist will not be able to diagnose the following:

  • areas of decay between the teeth
  • bone infections
  • developmental defects
  • inflammations or cysts
  • periodontal disorders
  • some forms of tumors

A dental X-ray performs an important role in helping the dentist deliver the best possible care for patients like you. If you are hesitant to undergo x-ray for your children or for yourself or if you have concerns, tell your dentist about it. They can explain and show you how to balance the risks and the benefits of undergoing an x-ray.

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