Dental X-Rays: How They Work & When to Get Them

Dental X-Rays

In order to evaluate your oral health, your dentist will have to use dental X-rays, commonly referred to as radiographs, to snap photographs of the teeth. These low-radiation X-rays are used to take pictures of the inside of your gums and teeth. This may assist the dentist in identifying problems such as cavities, impacted teeth, and tooth decay.

We spoke to The Smilist Dental in Clifton who explained that although dental X-rays might seem to be complicated, they are really quite standard procedures that are likewise crucial as regular cleanings of your teeth.

How and why are dental X-rays used

Typically, dental X-rays are obtained annually. They may happen more than that if the dentist keeps track of the effects of a dental problem or therapy.

Your dental X-ray schedule may change depending on several variables, including:

  • A person’s age
  • A person’s current dental health, any signs of oral illness, and any prior tooth decay or gum disease

If you’re just a seeing a dentist for the first time, it’s probable that dental X-rays will be taken so that the dentist can have a thorough grasp of your oral state. This is particularly important if the previous dentist did not administer any X-rays.

Children might need more dental health X-rays than grownups to screen the development of the adult teeth. Note that this is important due to the fact that it can assist the dentist to decide if to extract baby teeth in order to prevent problems like adult teeth emerging in front of the baby teeth.

X-ray machine types

Dental X-rays come in two primary varieties: intraoral (meaning the X-ray film is placed within the mouth) & extraoral (which means the X-ray film rests outside the mouth).

  • The most frequent type of dental X-rays taken are the intraoral type. These X-rays offer a great deal of detail.
  • Although extraoral X-rays highlight the jaw and skull, they also show teeth.

Intraoral X-rays come in a variety of forms, each of which reveals different features of teeth.

  • An portion of the mouth’s lower and top teeth can be seen in detail on bite-wing X-rays. A tooth is visible in each bite-wing from the crown to around the height of the supportive bone. In order to find dental caries between teeth and variations in bone density brought on by gum disease, bite-wing X-rays are performed. They are also helpful in detecting the marginal viability of fillings and the correct fit of a crown (or cast repair).
  • Periapical X-rays display the whole tooth, from the top to the area where the tooth is attached in the jaw beyond the end of the root. The periapical X-ray covers all the molars in one part of the lower or upper jaw and displays the whole tooth dimension.
  • Periapical X-rays are utilized to look for any irregularities in the surrounding bone structure and root structure.
  • Larger and displaying complete tooth development and positioning are occlusal X-rays. Each X-ray shows the complete lower or upper jaw’s arch of teeth.

Your dentist may do a variety of extraoral X-rays, including panoramic X-rays, cephalometric projections, tomograms, sialography, and computed tomography.

Dental X-ray dangers

Although dental X-rays do subject people to radiation exposure, the amounts are so low that both adults and children are believed to be safe. If the dentist processes digital X-rays as opposed to film-based ones, your radiation exposure risks are considerably reduced.

In order to shield your breast, belly, and pelvis from any needless radiation exposure, your dentist will additionally drape a lead “bib” over those areas. If you have a thyroid issue, you might utilize a thyroid collar. They can be worn with the lead bib and by kids and women who are have reached the age where they can bear children.

Pregnancy is an exception to this rule. Females who are expecting or think they might be expecting must shun all types of X-rays. Inform your dentist if you suspect pregnancy because radiation has never been known to be safe for a developing fetus.

How to prepare for dental X-rays

No explicit preparation is necessary for dental X-rays. However, one thing you should do prior to your visit is brush all your teeth. That makes the atmosphere for people performing tasks inside the mouth more hygienic. X-rays are frequently taken prior to cleanings.

You’ll sit on a chair at the dentist’s office using a lead vest covering your lap and chest. Your head is positioned next to the X-ray equipment, which will take pictures of the mouth. While some dental offices do X-rays in a isolated area from cleanings and other treatments, others do so.

Following a dental X-ray

With digital X-rays, the images are ready instantaneously. The dentist will take a look at the pictures and assess any irregularities. The dentist could go through the X-ray results with you after the dental hygienist has done cleaning the teeth. The only exception would be if the hygienist discovered anything significant during the X-ray process.

If the dentist detects a problem like tooth decay or cavities, they will go over the treatment options with you. If there are no problems found by your dentist, you can continue with your usual regimen!

Final Words

Getting routine dental X-rays is essential to maintaining your overall oral health, much like brushing and flossing. A thorough examination can be relieving, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue receiving X-rays. Every about one or two years, based on your health, age, and insurance, you might have an X-ray. Keep regular appointments, and if you notice any discomfort or other irregularities in your mouth, visit your dentist right once.