Are you getting ready for your dental exam? If so, be sure to ask your dentist about dental x-rays! Dental x-rays are a vital part of any oral health examination. They can help find problems with your teeth and gums that may not be visible to the naked eye. In this blog post, we will discuss the different things dental x-rays can find. We will also describe how they are performed and what you can expect during your appointment. So, if you’re curious about dental x-rays, keep reading!
What are Dental X-Rays?
Dental x-rays are a type of imaging test that uses low-dose radiation to produce pictures of your teeth and gums. They are usually taken during a routine dental exam and the American Dental Association recommends having dental x-rays performed 1-2 times per year. There are two types of dental x-rays: extraoral and intraoral.
- Extraoral x-rays are taken outside of your mouth. They give your dentist a broad view of your teeth, jaws, and surrounding structures. The most common extraoral x-ray is the panoramic x-ray.
- Intraoral x-rays are taken inside your mouth and provide a more detailed look at your teeth and gums. There are different types of intraoral x-rays, including bitewing x-rays, periapical x-rays, and occlusal x-rays. During your appointment, your dentist will determine which type of x-ray is best for you based on your oral health needs.
Your dentist will use a special x-ray machine to take the pictures. The machine will be positioned outside of or inside your mouth, depending on which type of x-ray is being taken. In some cases, you may also be asked to bite down onto a small piece of film. This helps to get a clear picture of your teeth. The whole process is quick and easy and takes just a few seconds to complete.
Things Dental X-Rays Can Find
Now that you know a little bit about how dental x-rays are performed, let’s discuss what they can be used to find. Dental x-rays can be used to detect a variety of problems, including:
Dental x-rays can show cavities that have formed in your teeth. Cavities are small holes that form when tooth enamel is broken down by acidic substances. If left untreated, cavities can lead to infection and tooth loss. Dental x-rays are ideal for finding decay in areas that are hard or impossible to see, such as between the teeth or beneath the gums. Dental x-rays can also help your dentist to determine the extent of tooth decay, as well as whether it has caused a pulp infection inside the tooth.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth:
Wisdom teeth are the third molars, or back teeth, that most people have. They typically erupt (or come in) during the late teens or early twenties. Sometimes, wisdom teeth can become impacted, which means they become stuck beneath the gums and fail to erupt. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, infection, and damage to nearby teeth. They also make it difficult to keep the mouth clean, which increases the risk of cavities and gum disease. Dental x-rays can help your dentist to determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted and need to be removed.
Dental x-rays can also be used to find cracks or fractures in your teeth. A cracked tooth may not cause any pain or symptoms at first, especially if the crack is very tiny, but the crack can worsen over time. This can lead to pain, sensitivity, and eventually, tooth loss. In some cases, fractured teeth can even become infected if bacteria is able to enter the tooth. Dental x-rays can help your dentist to find fractures that are not visible on the surface of the tooth, so that they can be properly treated.
Dental x-rays can also be used to detect bone loss around the teeth. This is often a sign of periodontal disease, which is a serious infection of the gums and other surrounding tissues. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss since it attacks the supporting structures around the tooth. Bone loss can also occur after a tooth has been lost or extracted. In either case, dental x-rays can help your dentist to diagnose and treat bone loss in its early stages.
Faulty Dental Restorations:
Dental x-rays can also be used to check the status of dental fillings, crowns, and other dental restorations. Over time, these restorations can become loose or cracked as they wear down and near the end of their lifespan. This can allow bacteria to enter the tooth and cause decay. Dental x-rays can help your dentist to find any problems with your dental work so that they can be repaired or replaced. They can also tell your dentist if tooth decay has started to accumulate below a faulty restoration.
Abscesses or Cysts:
An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms when an infection goes untreated. It can cause severe pain, swelling, and fever. There are different types of abscesses that can affect the mouth: gingival, periapical, or periodontal. A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that does not usually cause symptoms. However, if it becomes infected, it can cause the same symptoms as an abscess. Dental x-rays can help your dentist to find abscesses or cysts so that they can be drained and treated.
Condition and Position of the Teeth for Treatment Planning:
Dental x-rays can also be used to simply assess the condition and position of your teeth. This information is important for treatment planning, such as for braces or dental implants. Dental x-rays can help your dentist to create a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.
In this blog post, we have discussed dental x-rays and the various things they can be used to find. Dental x-rays are quick and easy to perform, and they are an important part of a comprehensive dental exam. They can be used to find a variety of problems, including tooth decay, impacted wisdom teeth, fractures, bone loss, and abscesses. Dental x-rays can also be used to check the status of dental fillings, crowns, and other dental restorations. If you are due for a dental exam, be sure to ask your dentist about getting x-rays.