Radiographic or x-ray examinations provide your dentist with a valuable diagnostic tool that shows the condition of your teeth, roots, and jaw placement.
X-rays can help your dentist detect decay that is not visible to the naked eye. When decay is found in the early stages, it is often easier to treat and less uncomfortable for the patient.
Are there different types of X-rays?
Bitewing x-rays are some of the most typical dental x-rays your Dentist will suggest. These x-rays are very effective at discovering tooth decay on the biting surface and in-between the teeth. Bitewing x-rays are taken once per year (sometimes twice a year) if your Dentist is monitoring growth of an already exsisting decay. These x-rays show only the crowns (the top) of the tooth and part of the roots.
Periapical x-rays are similar to bitewing x-rays but show more of the entire tooth from the crown (top) to the bottom of the root. Your dentist may request this type of x-ray to give a more effective examination and diagnosis of the tooth.
Panoramic x-ray gives the dentist a complete picture of all your teeth including your jaw bones. This x-ray is also used as a screening tool for any pathology (cysts, tumors etc). The panoramic x-ray is commonly done on your “initial” visit at the dentist or maybe required for specific diagnosis.
X-rays- How often?
Depending on your individual needs, your radiographic treatment will be based on your Dentist’s assessment, whether you’re a new patient, a recare patient, an adult or a child.
In most cases, new adult patients require a full set of mouth x-rays and/or panoramic x-ray to evaluate oral health status. This would include any signs of gum disease, screening for cysts/tumors and for future comparisons. Recare patients may require x-rays to monitor tooth decay and/or their gum condition.
Concerned about Radiation?
As health care providers we are sensitive to patients concerns about exsposure to radiation. If you have any concerns or wish to discuss the safety precautions and techniques used, please contact us or check out what the College of Dental Surgeons has to say about radiation.