One thing some people may dread on their biannual visit to the dentist is biting down on that uncomfortable piece of plastic for the x-ray. You then may be sitting there and wonder why there even needs to be a tooth x-ray every time you go. Maybe learning the significance and benefits of this procedure will help make that process a little less uncomfortable for you next time.
Why Perform this Procedure?
When you typically think of getting an x-ray on any other part of your body, you think it’s because you have a broken bone somewhere. However, it’s a little different for teeth; the reasons why vary based on factors like age or your dental health. New patients can receive a tooth x-ray, which helps the dentist get a general idea of where their patient’s dental health stands. Kids receive this procedure so their growing teeth get monitored. If there’s a dental problem, like gingivitis, then the dentist would need to perform an x-ray often to overlook the progress of the disease.
Finding Problems with X-Rays
Dentists also utilize this practice to detect early signs of dental issues. An x-ray can reveal areas of decay that can’t be found easily with the naked eye. Your dentist could find potential hints of gum disease, like bone loss. If you have an infection, then your bone or root canal may have undergone changes that can also be detected by an x-ray. Speaking of which, it could also reveal certain infections growing between the gums and teeth. There can be traces of decay underneath a patient’s filling that dentists can find with an x-ray, as well.
Different Types of Dental X-Rays
The scenario mentioned about biting down on an uncomfortable piece of plastic is only one of the multiple types of x-rays available, known as the bitewing. Your dentist may use this technique to see how well your crowns match up, which is the purpose of that piece of plastic. The occlusal x-ray is to observe how the top and bottom rows of your teeth line up. Your dentist may utilize the panoramic x-ray to look at any issues with the jaw or to take a look at your wisdom teeth. The periapical technique hones in on two entire teeth, from the bottom of the root to the top of the crown. Dentists use the extraoral x-ray to check on the jaw and any other places outside of the teeth and gums.
You may be worried about radiation. Even though there is very little radiation in dental x-rays, it does add up over time. Thanks to advances in technology and the medical industry in general, risks from x-rays have significantly reduced. That is why dentists use this procedure only if necessary. There are a lot of strict guidelines to help ensure the safe execution of this practice. That’s why you’ll see your dentist put what looks like a bib on your body; that bib contains lead that’ll help protect that area from radiation exposure.
If you’re still feeling uneasy about dental x-rays, then contact our staff at North View Dental. Our professional, yet comfortable, office helps provide our patients with a calm atmosphere. So contact us today if you have any further questions or to schedule an appointment.