Dentists, always want to provide the best possible treatments to their patients, but just a visual examination of the oral cavity is not sufficient to zero in on the exact problem. Here is where Dental X-rays come into the picture. They help dentists to accurately diagnose and treat dental problems before they turn serious. X-rays, also called Radiographs.
Dental X-rays are both a useful source of oral health information as well as a controversial topic. While X-rays provide a clearer picture of your oral health to us, your dentist, exposure to radiation is the concern amongst patients.
With the help of X-rays, we get to know the condition beneath the surface of your teeth, between and inside your teeth and tip of your roots along with the bone underneath your gums, which we cannot examine with the naked eye. X-rays also helps us to identify the different problems ranging from old fillings to tooth decay, abscesses, bone and tissue deterioration, and even cysts and tumors. X-rays can save your teeth as well as your life!
Uses of Radiographs:
Dentists can use X-rays to identify and treat various issues:
- Areas of decay,extending between teeth or under a filling
- Bone loss associated with gum disease
- Abscesses, which are infections at the root of the tooth or between the tooth and gum
- Changes in the root canal
- Congenitally missing
- Impacted teeth such as the wisdom tooth
Sometimes these problems can go undiagnosed without an X-ray and that's why X-rays are of utmost importance initially. To do better treatment planning in cases of tooth implants, braces, dentures, and other similar treatments, X-rays are needed .
Are X-rays Safe?
Yes. Your dentist knows the proper safety precautions to take to minimize your risk to radiation during your X-ray session. The amount of radiation is very small. Exposure to radiations is in very low doses and the duration of exposure is also in milliseconds. If you are wearing a protective gear during the procedure, you are perfectly safe.
Protection from Radiations:
If you’ve got an X-rays done before, you’ve probably worn a heavy lead apron over your neck and torso. Lead aprons are sealed in a layer of thin rubber on both sides, which shields us from lead, while the lead protects the internal organs from the radiation of the X-ray machine. Internal Organs such as the male and female reproductive organs as well as the thyroid are very sensitive to X-ray radiations and thus must be protected each time an X-ray is taken.
For young children, it is especially important to protect the growing thyroid, and most dentists will not perform X-rays on pregnant or nursing mothers as a precaution and will take only if there is dire need.
Types of Dental X-Rays:
- Bitewing X-rays - used to determine if there’s decay on a teeth or between two teeth .
- Periapical X-ray - (Most common type) Takes an image of the entire tooth, including the roots and helps to evaluate the root structure of a particular tooth. Dentists can see bone level, cysts, and abscesses.
- Panoramic Radiograph - X-ray that lets your dentist see the entire structure of your mouth. It shows all of your upper and lower teeth and a part of your jaw in a single image. Dentists typically use a panoramic radiograph to see how the teeth are developing in kids and in teens, for braces treatment and also for the angulations of wisdom teeth.
How Often Are X-rays Needed?
Every patient is different, so the need of X-rays varies from patient to patient. Dentist may advise full series of X rays or Panoramic Image if patient is going to the dentist for the first time to assess the health of the complete oral cavity, and use it as a baseline record for the future. On your regular checkup visits, fewer X-rays are needed to monitor the status of oral health of the patient.
Dental X-Rays and Pregnancy:
If you are pregnant or nursing, please be sure to tell your dentist that, prior to your examination, so that the dentist can take proper precautions if the X-ray is required for any specific case. Dental x-rays are safe during pregnancy but some precautions are required.
During pregnancy because of fluctuating hormones, sensitive gums and pregnancy gingivitis are common conditions but they are temporary. Don’t stop going to the dentist when you’re pregnant!
So, now that you have a good idea about X-rays, don't hesitate to get one done from the dentist, if he/she suggests it. For more details, connect with us.