DENTAL X-RAYS

Dental x-rays are essential preventative diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not otherwise visible during a dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and create an appropriate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.

Dental x-rays may reveal:

  • Abscesses or cysts
  • Bone loss
  • Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
  • Decay between the teeth
  • Developmental abnormalities
  • Poor tooth and root positions
  • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line

Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and may even save your teeth from eventually being lost to decay or periodontal disease.

Are dental x-rays safe?

Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources. Nevertheless, dentists do take precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast film that cuts down the exposure time of each x-ray.

How often should dental x-rays be taken?

The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.

A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) and are recommended once or twice a year at your as part of your dental check-ups and will be used to detect new dental problems.

Dental X-Rays & Digital X-Rays use small amounts of radiation to take a  picture of your teeth and surrounding mouth. Dental X-Rays help our dentists see changes in the mouth that are not visible to the naked eye.  Dental X-Rays will expose problems within the teeth, mouth and surrounding jaw before they are painful or potentially  damaging. Dr.’s Kent and Dr. Davis can see cavities, tooth decay, bone loss and wisdom teeth.

Dental X-Rays used in conjunction with the dentist expertise are a useful tool in diagnoses and treatment in emergency situations or in annul visits

The following is a list of commonly used Dental X-Rays:

Bitewing X-Rays: shows the upper and lower back teeth and if there is any decay between the teeth as well as any bone loss which could be caused by gum disease.

bitewing x-rays

Periapical X-Rays: also known as a PA shows an entire tooth from the root to the crown and any supporting teeth.  It shows dental problems below the gum line or in the jaw (ex. impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts, tumors)

a PA x-ray

Complete Series: is a series of bitewing and periapical radiographs that shows all the teeth, roots and related areas of the jaws.

complete series

Panoramic X-Ray: also known as a PAN shows a broad view of the jaws, mouth, teeth, sinuses, and nasal area. When this kind of x-ray is taken, no film is put inside your mouth.   It shows problems like impacted teeth, bone problems, cysts, tumors or growth.

PAN x-ray

Dental x-rays produce less radiation with the use of a digital x-ray system

Here at Partners In Dental Health we use Digital X-Rays. A small sensor unit is placed in your mouth and sends the picture to the computer for the doctor to view and is saved into the patient file. No film is used because it is a digital file. The sensor is placed in the patients mouth just like a film x-ray would be without the discomfort that a traditional x-ray film can create.

The traditional forms of film X-Rays do work fine and are normal among dentist yet Digital X-Rays are the future.  They decrease radiation to the patient by as much as 80%. If you are pregnant, however you must tell the dentist because dental X-Rays would only be done if absolutely necessary and extra precautions will be taken to protect your baby. Insurance companies cover Digital X-Rays the same as traditional film dental x-rays. Many insurance companies require x-rays from the treating doctor before payment can be made. In many cases without an x -ray, the insurance company will deny the claim and the patient will incur the cost.

Using  Digital X-Rays helps diagnose dental problems before they become painful or its too late and the tooth must be extracted. Getting dental x-rays annual will be one way to early detection and prevention of oral health problems. Blushing and flossing your teeth daily and going to your annual cleaning exams will help prevent many oral health problems.