Dental X-Rays: When Are They Necessary?

Dental X-Rays: When Are They Necessary?

Oct 01, 2020

To maintain your oral health, you need to practice good oral hygiene and see our dentist in Walpole, MA, at least every six months. These two measures are key in ensuring that your oral health and, in turn, overall health are maintained properly.

If you have been diligent in keeping up with your regular dental appointments, then you must have, at some point, been asked by the dentist to have dental x-rays taken. This should not come as a shock to you, because dental x-rays are an essential diagnostic tool.

They enable the dentist to visualize oral diseases, which could have otherwise gone unnoticed during an oral physical checkup. Dental x-rays allow the dentist to identify, diagnose, and treat oral issues in their initial stages before they cascade into dental complications.

What Dental Issues Can Be Identified Using Dental X-Rays?

Dental x-rays are not always necessary; however, our dentist in Walpole, MA, will advocate for dental x-rays to help identify and diagnose the following dental issues:

In pediatric patients to:

  • Check for tooth decay
  • Track the development of their wisdom teeth and determine whether there are any impacted teeth
  • Identify any developmental irregularities such as tumors
  • Track how their permanent teeth are replacing their primary teeth
  • Determine whether there is ample space available for the permanent teeth coming in

In adults, x-rays are used:

  • To ascertain whether there is any tooth decay happening underneath an already existing dental filling
  • To identify if any bone loss has occurred due to gum disease or a periodontal condition
  • To prepare for orthodontic dental procedures, such as getting fitted with braces, dentures, or tooth implants
  • To identify the small areas of decay. These tend to occur within the hard to brush or access areas of teeth, such as between teeth
  • To help visualize oral diseases, such as an abscessed tooth
  • To ascertain if any changes have occurred to the jaw bone or the root canal due to an infection

Getting dental x-rays will not be part and parcel of every dental visit. Depending on your oral health history and current dental condition, you may be asked to take a dental x-ray annually or biannually.

If you have recently had gum disease or a tooth infection, you may be forced to take x-rays every six months to track your recovery progress.

In addition to this, our dentist in Walpole, MA, will ask for some x-rays, which will go into your records for future diagnostic purposes.

Different Types of X-Rays

Different types of x-rays are taken under different circumstances. They include:

  • Bitewing X-Rays

These are among the common diagnostic x-rays used during routine dental checkups. They are used to check for the small areas of decay between teeth, check on bone loss due to gum disease, and visualize oral diseases. This type of x-ray displays the crown section of your teeth.

  • Periapical X-Rays

This type of x-ray gives a full image of your tooth from the crown to the root tip.

It is used to check on any changes that may have occurred to your teeth’s roots and get a view of your teeth’s bone height. This type of x-ray is also used to identify and diagnose an abscess or cyst, which may have developed.

  • Panoramic X-Rays

This type of x-ray is taken from the outside. It gives a view of your entire mouth within a single image. It is used to identify and diagnose wisdom teeth issues, impacted teeth, cysts, jaw and bone disorders, and tumors. Orthodontists also use them in preparation for orthodontic procedures such as getting braces or dentures.

  • Occlusal X-Rays

These are taken in children to monitor the progress of their developing teeth. They give a view of the entire floor and roof of the mouth. They are essential in identifying dental issues, such as impacted teeth, jaw disorders, growths, and tumors.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Although x-ray equipment releases radiation, the levels are at a minimum to ensure the process is safe for you to undergo and that your exposure is kept negligible. Currently, most dentists are using digital x-rays designed to cut down on radiation exposure even further.

During the procedure, you will be asked to wear a protective apron to shield your abdominal region and a protective lead collar to shield your thyroid from radiation exposure.

All these guidelines are put in place to guarantee your safety as you go through the x-ray procedure.

At Unident Dental Center of Walpole, we put our clients’ oral health first. Contact us today for all your dental requirements.

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