Dental X-rays, also known as radiographs, are a common diagnostic tool used by dentists to assess the health of your teeth and surrounding structures. They provide valuable information that may not be visible during a regular dental examination. As dentists, we are trained to use these tools responsibly, following strict guidelines to minimize radiation exposure and ensure patient safety while providing accurate diagnoses and effective treatments. This blog gives an overview of dental x-rays today with a few commonly asked questions answered.
Why do dentists use x-rays?
Dental x-rays are used for various diagnostic purposes, including:
– Detecting tooth decay and cavities.
– Assessing bone health and density.
– Identifying infections, cysts, or tumors in the jaw.
– Evaluating the position of unerupted teeth.
– Planning orthodontic treatment.
– Preparing for dental implant placement.
– Monitoring oral health over time.
Types of dental x-rays:
There are several types of dental X-rays, each serving a specific purpose:
- Bitewing x-rays: capture images of the upper and lower teeth in one specific area of the mouth. They are used to check for cavities between teeth and assess the health of the supporting bone.
- Periapical X-rays: focus on one or a few teeth at a time, showing the entire tooth, from crown to root, as well as the surrounding bone. They are helpful for diagnosing specific tooth problems.
- Panoramic x-rays: capture an overview of the entire mouth, including all the teeth, the jaws, and the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). It’s often used for planning orthodontic treatment or assessing overall oral health.
X-rays gone digital!
In modern dentistry, traditional film x-rays are being replaced by digital x-rays, which offer several advantages including reduced radiation exposure, faster image processing, and the ability to enhance and manipulate the images for a more accurate diagnosis. They are also more environmentally friendly, as they eliminate the need for chemical processing.
Are dental x-rays considered safe in Saskatoon?
Although there is concern about radiation exposure, dental X-rays involve very low levels of radiation, and the exposure is generally considered safe. Dentists take precautions to minimize radiation exposure by using lead aprons and collars to protect patients from unnecessary exposure.
How often will I need dental x-rays?
The frequency of dental x-rays varies from patient to patient. Dentists typically take X-rays based on individual risk factors, oral health history, and the patient’s current oral health. For most people, bitewing X-rays are taken at least once a year, while panoramic X-rays are less frequent and may be taken every 3-5 years.
X-rays are part of the modern digital dentistry tool kit at Neesh Dental
Dental X-rays are a valuable tool that helps dentists provide comprehensive and effective oral healthcare. Please read the Canadian Dental Association’s position on dental x-radiation in dentistry. Patients should discuss any concerns about X-ray exposure with their dental provider, and dentists should follow best practices to ensure that X-rays are taken when necessary and with minimal risk.
Read more about our digital dentistry tools: A dentist’s best tools: high-tech dental care in Saskatoon.