How important are dental X-rays?

How important are dental X-rays?

Also known as dental radiography, dental X-rays are diagnostic in nature, but they can also be preventive, by helping a dentist diagnose future oral issues in a patient’s mouth before they become a huge problem. Dental X-rays are images taken of jaw bones, teeth and tissues to help dentists find potential issues with their overall oral health. Dental X-rays must be taken before any dental procedures to make sure the dentist is completely aware of all future risks such as long-term grinding and hidden dental structures.

What X-RAYS Show

X-Rays give a high level of detail of the bone, tooth and supporting tissues of the mouth. These X-rays allow dentists to:

  • Look at the tooth roots
  • Locate Cavities
  • Help diagnose periodontal diseases
  • Check the health of the area around the tooth
  • Check the status of developing teeth

How often should one have dental X-rays?

The dentist will advise X-rays based on the person’s oral health. Some patients avoid X-rays even when their dentist suggests but this can lead to trouble in future. X-rays are basically a form of energy. They’re related to radio waves, sunlight and the heat generated by an electric stove element.

A visual exam doesn’t inform the dentist everything they need to know. X-rays provides a more complete picture. They can mostly detect problems before symptoms arise. By catching and addressing problems at initial stage, it may save money, time and discomfort. It can help prevent more serious health problems. Dentist at Campbell and Williams family dental in Highland Village TX use dental X-rays to rule out a variety of oral health issues:

Tooth decay – X-ray images reveal dark spots in the areas of decay. They are especially helpful by revealing decay between teeth, which are difficult to see by naked eye.

Cracks in fillings and teeth – Hairline cracks are mostly invisible to the naked eye, but become more obvious on X-ray. This is an early indication that a crown will be required to save the tooth.

Cysts – nodules, lumps, polyps and soft tissue growths below the gum line could be more easily seen with routine X-rays.

Periodontal disease – X-ray imaging must be used to see what exactly the problem is when the infection occurs around the root of a tooth below the gum line.

Infection – X-rays can also reveal certain bacterial infections. They mostly become useful for detecting the possibility of a failed root canal.

Cancer –X-rays can detect bone and different types of cancers at an early stage, improving treatment options.

Impacted teeth – X-rays can depict the exact position of teeth that have not erupted yet. They can reveal their location and direction.

Bone loss – X-ray can turn out to be extremely helpful when diagnosing advanced cases of periodontal disease.

Unerupted teeth – As children grow old, X-rays confirm the position of permanent teeth. They also show any kind of blockages to their proper eruption.

It is quite evident that X-rays give the dentist a lot of valuable information. If anyone is a new patient, one should take a full series of X-rays, which provides an important starting point for their care. As and when they continue with regular check-ups, fewer X-rays are usually needed. Today’s dental X-ray procedures are designed in such a way that it minimises radiation. So, exposure is almost negligible. Especially if we compare this to how much information they can provide. Dental X-rays might seem like a lot of trouble or an extra expense. But when it comes to providing quality dental care, they are equally important as regular teeth cleanings.

Are X-Rays safe?

The amount of radiation one is exposed to in full mouth X-ray is only about 1/23 of the radiation one is already getting from natural sources. The radiation is reduced further, with the use of new digital X-ray technology. In fact, it can be dangerous, if the person does not get X-rays. For example, an X-ray will be needed to diagnose or rule cavities out. If the woman is pregnant it is important to inform the dentist. But, if one is pregnant and have a dental infection, failure to diagnose and treat it, can be more harmful for the baby than the X-ray itself.