Dental x-rays are an essential part of proper dental care. X-rays, also known as dental radiographs, provide your dentist with a picture of teeth and bone that cannot be seen with the naked eye. With this image your dentist is able to make a more informed diagnosis, find potentially dangerous lesions and maintain your dental health; thus provide you with the highest quality of care.
Radiographs screen for:
- Dental decay
- Periodontal disease (bone loss)
- Heavy tartar buildup
- Abscessed teeth
- Cysts and tumors in the bone
- Blockage in arteries
- Abnormal tooth or jaw structure
- Childhood development
- Missing teeth
Routine dental radiographs aid in early detection and prevention of tooth decay. For example, cavities that have recently formed in between teeth are visible on x-rays but many times cannot be seen in the mouth. Often with early detection, dental decay can be reversed with fluoride treatments instead of fillings, crowns or root canals.
Dentists also use x-rays as an early recognition for gum disease which many times has no symptoms. Diagnosing gum disease before significant bone loss occurs can prevent loose teeth and bad breath. With this knowledge, your hygienist can guide you in proper home care. Good oral hygiene at home and routine visits will help prevent further bone loss.
Detection of infection, tumors and blocked arteries can be found prior to a patient having any symptoms. Routine screening with dental x-rays sometimes allows for early diagnosis thus a more hopeful prognosis.
Even though dental x-rays can be concerning due to the exposure of radiation, dentists recommend them with your safety in mind. Lead aprons with thyroid collars are worn to minimize exposure to radiation. Machines are routinely calibrated to ensure the lowest level radiation.
Radiographs are needed to provide the best quality of care and allow us to do our job more effectively. While there may be some precautions to take, the benefits definitely outweigh the risks of not having dental x-rays.
See your dentist regularly for routine dental examinations and x-rays to diagnose issues early, before they become larger, more dangerous problems. The goal is to detect these oral findings before painful symptoms occur. Dentists and hygienists are here to help you take care of yourself and help keep you healthy by teaching and treating you.