Why Annual Dental X-rays Are Important

Do you have a problem with your teeth? You can expect your dentist to perform a visual examination to help determine what’s wrong. But the tests don’t always give you all the answers. That’s where dental X-rays or radiographs come into the picture. This imaging technique helps your dentist see between and inside your tooth. X-rays allow them to spot problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye.


What Do They Detect?


Dental X-rays are an essential tool because they provide your dentist the whole picture. They show the roots, the condition of your teeth, the placement of your jaw, and even the composition of your facial bone. They are crucial in detecting and treating dental issues before they become too advanced.


A Dental X-ray can reveal abscesses, cavities beneath dental fillings, and decay between your teeth. It can also find cysts and other types of tumors as well as bone loss in the jaw because of gum disease. Additionally, dental X-rays can expose the position of your teeth. This helps your dentist identify what kind of dental implants, braces, or dentures are necessary.


Common Types of Dental X-rays


There are a few common types of dental radiographs. These are bitewing, periapical, and panoramic X-rays.


  • Bitewings

    This is the type that many people are very familiar with. It helps detect early signs of decay, especially between teeth. It also finds any jawbone changes caused by periodontal disease. Your dentist may request one or multiple bitewing X-rays during your dental checkup.


  • Periapical

    This type of X-ray captures your entire tooth. It reveals everything, from the chewing surface down to the root. Periapical X-rays are usually requested to spot any abnormal changes in the tooth root and its enclosing bone structures.


  • Panoramic

    Like taking panoramic photos, this type of X-ray also brings the full view. It takes images of the entire area of your mouth. This will show your dentist the position of emerging, fully emerged, and impacted teeth, all in a single picture.


Are They Safe to Use?


Some people are concerned that dental X-rays involve radiation exposure. It’s true, but the amount of radiation that oral health care professionals use for a traditional dental X-ray is relatively minimal and very safe for a healthy individual to be exposed to. Both the American Dental Association (ADA) as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States have confirmed that they are safe for everyone. This includes children and pregnant women.


Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that radiation can build up in your body over time. Your dentist has to limit the number of dental X-rays you will undergo. This way, they can keep the accumulation to a minimum. Unless necessary, most dentists will only request dental X-rays once a year or twice a year.


There’s little risk from all types of X-rays, not just dental. But there are safety guidelines established by the ADA and the FDA. State and local health agencies have their own policies as well, such as inspection and licensing requirements of dental offices and their equipment.


Learn more about the benefits of getting an annual dental X-ray, contact Orange Door Dental Group in Elkhart or Warsaw, IN at (574) 347-4793 or (574) 406-2115.

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