Regular general dentistry visits can help patients stay on top of the health of teeth, gums, and the tongue and provide an assessment of potential conditions linked to the health of the mouth. Most people know that they should brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, and visit the dentist every six months to…
What Dental X-Rays Can Reveal About Your Teeth
Dental x-rays are medical images that show the anatomy of teeth and the structures that surround them. X-rays provide information that informs aspects of dentistry like prevention, treatment, and management. At some point, everyone who sees a dentist will have to get an x-ray for one reason or another. For this reason, you should learn about dental x-rays and why a dentist would ask you to get one.
How dental x-rays work
X-rays are electromagnetic waves that have an effect on the silver compound that coats x-ray film. These waves can pass right through soft tissue. However, hard tissue like bone and teeth absorbs x-rays. These properties are important in explaining how x-ray imaging works. Here is what to expect when getting an x-ray:
- First, the dentist will situate their patient in a chair next to an x-ray machine
- Then, they will cover the patient’s neck and torso with a lead apron
- Next, the dentist will position a plastic frame in the patient’s mouth. The frame contains an x-ray film
- After, the dentist will ask the patient to bite down on the frame
- Lastly, they will place the x-ray machine next to the patient’s mouth and use it to take an image of their patient’s teeth
The radiation that passes through the soft tissue will make it onto the x-ray film and darken the silver coating on the film. The x-rays that hit bone and teeth will not make it onto the x-ray film. Parts of the film that sit directly behind hard tissue will remain white. Different kinds of x-ray images yield different information. The sections that follow go into more detail.
1. X-rays detect tooth decay between the teeth
Dentists use bitewing x-rays to check for cavities in between the teeth. This type of x-ray imaging allows a dentist to visualize the surfaces of the teeth that are hard to see with a visual exam. Patients that go for routine dental visits often get this type of x-ray image when the dentist searches for cavities and tooth decay.
2. Dentists use x-rays to monitor growth and development in children and teens
X-ray imaging helps a dentist map out the position of the teeth in the gums and jaws. If x-ray images reveal crowding or impacted teeth, the dentist will use this information to chart a course of orthodontic treatment.
3. Periodontists use x-rays to monitor bone loss and the progression of gum disease
Severe gum disease causes bone loss and loose teeth. An x-ray gives the dentist a visual of the situation beneath the gum line. The periodontist will monitor their patient’s response to treatment using x-rays. The information from the images will inform any adjustments a dentist makes to their patient’s treatment plan.
4. X-ray images can detect a bad bite
Dentists will use occlusal x-ray images to detect a bad bite. This type of x-ray can also detect malformations of the jaw and palate.
Get in touch to take advantage of x-ray services today
Our in-house dental x-ray facilities offer you the convenience of receiving all your dental care services in one place. We pride ourselves on our ability to cater to the diverse needs of every one of our patients. Whether you need treatment for an oral health issue, or something as simple as a routine checkup, we have you covered. Get in touch with us and find out how we can help to keep your smile looking good.
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