You may have noticed the term “digital radiography” under the services tab on our website. This is just a fancy term for dental X-rays. Getting X-rays at the dentist isn’t most people’s favorite thing. Getting an X-ray at the dentist may not be the most comfortable thing in the world, but it is crucial to your dental health.
There are several types of X-rays, each used to show a different part of the mouth.
- Bitewing: These X-rays show the upper and lower back teeth and how they come together when you bite down. They can be used to check for tooth decay, bite problems, and bone loss caused by gum disease or infection. These are most often taken during checkups.
- Periapical: These X-rays show the entire tooth, including the end of the root and supporting bones. They are used to find problems in the gums or jaw, such as impacted teeth, bone changes, abscesses, tumors, and cysts. Your dentist may take a full mouth of these if you are a new patient.
- Occlusal: These X-rays give the dentist a view of the roof or floor of your mouth. This enables him to find extra teeth, jaw fractures, cleft palates, cysts, growths, and abscesses.
- Panoramic: These X rays show a full view of the inside of the mouth in one X-ray. They are taken from outside of your mouth and can find bone abnormalities, cysts, fractures, tumors, etc. You’ve probably had this type of X-ray taken if you’ve ever had braces.
How often you have a dental X-ray taken will depend on your oral health, age, risk, and symptoms for disease. X-rays don’t always mean something bad! They are periodically taken during checkups just to monitor the condition of your health.
You don’t need to worry about radiation exposure while having your X-ray taken. Your exposure is minimal because X-ray machines are currently designed to reduce radiation as much as possible. In addition, many practices require you to wear a leaded apron that will protect you from radiation exposure. Many also try to make any exposure as brief as possible by using digital X-rays that are almost instantaneous. Always let your dentist know if you a pregnant or breastfeeding when having X-rays taken.
As you can see, dental X-rays are a great tool to help your dentist detect damage and disease that is not visible during a regular dental exam. The benefit of dental X-rays is that they can detect a problem before it truly develops. Once detected, your dentist will discuss a treatment plan for you. Make sure you are regularly going to you dentist checkups so your dentist can use digital radiography to ensure you are as healthy as possible.