All about Dental X-rays

By | December 29, 2015

Dental X-rays help dentists to visualize teeth diseases and the surrounding tissue that usually cannot be seen with simple oral examination. Additionally, X-rays also help dentist to find and treat problems early in their development, which can save money, unnecessary discomfort and sometimes even life.

What are the problems that dental X-rays can detect?

In adults,

  • Dental X-rays can be used to show areas of decay that may not be visible with oral examination, especially the areas of teeth decay.
  • They help to identify decay occurring beneath an existing filling.
  • It helps to reveal changes in the root canal or the bone that result from infection.
  • Also, reveals the bone loss that accompanies gum disease.
  • An abscess (infection at the tooth root or between the tooth and the gum) can be identified with dental X-rays.
  • Other developmental abnormalities such as tumors and cysts can be identified.

In children,

  • Dental X-rays are used to look for decay.
  • They help to determine if there is sufficient space in the mouth for the incoming teeth to fit well.
  • They are used to check for the development of wisdom teeth and identify if the teeth are impacted.
  • Also, they help to determine if the primary teeth are being lost quickly to allow permanent teeth to come in properly.

How frequently the teeth be X-rayed?
The frequency of getting X-rays often depends on your dental and medical history and current condition. Some people need X-rays as often as six months and others with no recent gum or dental disease.

People who fall into high risk category who may need X-rays taken more often include:

  • Adults with extensive restorative work, such as fillings to watch for decay beneath the existing fillings.
  • Children need more X-rays than adults because their jaws and teeth are smaller and still developing. As a result, decay can reach the inner layers of the dentin or tooth, quicker and spreads faster.
  • People who intake lot of sugary beverages to identify tooth decay.
  • People with periodontal gum disease to look for bone loss.
  • Smokers to monitor bone loss that results from periodontal disease.
  • People who have dry mouth or disease states. Dry mouth conditions usually lead to development of cavities.

Are dental X-rays safe?
Radiation exposures such as sun, minerals in the soil and dental X-rays can damage the body’s cells and tissues and lead to cancer in some cases. Fortunately, the radiation dose you are exposed during the dental X-rays is small especially in case of digital X-rays. Recent advances in dentistry have lead to various measures that helps to minimize the risks associated with X-rays. Those who are really concerned about radiation exposure during X-rays can discuss this matter with their dentists regarding guidelines and other alternatives.