General Dentistry

Why do I need X-rays?

Published on 04/04/2016

X‑rays also known as radiographs are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan. X‑rays are used to diagnose early signs of tooth decay. The X‑rays are absorbed by the dense teeth and jaw bone and pass more easily through the gums and cheek to give a clear view of the health of your teeth, jaw bone and supporting tissues.

Use of X‑rays

Early tooth decay does not show many physical signs. X‑rays enable the dentist to determine if there is any decay present under fillings or crowns or in areas between teeth not visible to the naked eye. X‑rays are also able to show if there is any infection present in tooth roots and will enable the dentist to determine the level and health of the bone present in your jaw. This is especially important prior to orthodontic or implant treatment as it can affect the success of any treatment.

In children X‑rays can also help to show where their adult teeth will erupt or in adults where wisdom teeth are.

Frequency of X‑rays

When you first attend a dental practice the dentist will recommend that you have X‑rays taken, unless you have had X‑rays taken very recently. X‑rays help to form a fundamental part of your dental health record and the dentist will build on this every time you visit the practice. If you change dentist, your X‑rays and records will not be needed by your new dentist. If they are important, our dental team will ask for your permission to have them set across or ask that you collect them from your old dentist.

After thisX‑raysare recommended every 9 to 24 months depending on various dental risk factors, including history of decay, age and condition of your mouth.

Types of X‑rays?

There are various types of x‑ray. Some show one or two teeth and their roots, while others can take pictures of several teeth at once.

Periapical — Provides a view of the entire tooth, from the crown to the bone that helps to support the tooth.

Bite-Wing — Offers a visual of both the lower and upper teeth. This type of X‑ray shows the dentist how these teeth touch one another and helps to determine if decay is present between back teeth.

Panoramic — Shows a view of the teeth, jaws, nasal area, sinuses and the joints of the jaw, and is usually taken when a patient may need orthodontic treatment or implant placement.

Occlusal — Offers a clear view of the floor of the mouth to show the bite of the upper or lower jaw. This kind of X‑ray highlights children’s tooth development to show the baby and adult teeth.

Not all dentists have the facilities to take all types of X‑rays. If you require a specialist x‑ray prior to treatment you may need to be referred to an alternative surgery. This will ensure that you receive the highest possible quality of care.

Dangers of X‑rays

The radiation received from a dental x‑ray is incredibly small and much less than is received from natural sources, including minerals in the soil and from our general environment. Constant advances in technology, including the shift to digital imaging plates, and the fact that the dentist will only take X‑rays when they are clinically necessary mean that the risk from dental X‑rays are kept as small as possible.

You should always tell your dentist if you know or think that you could be pregnant. They will postpone any X‑rays until after the baby is born unless they really have to and will be especially careful during the first three months.

If you would like more information about dental X‑rays do not hesitate to ask at your next appointment at Leigh Dental Centre and let us help you improve your oral health today. Call the surgery on 01702 472929to book a new patient consultation or your routine examination.

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