Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Importance of Dental X-rays

Dental X-rays are an important part of your dental treatment.  X-rays allow us to see what is underneath your gums and helps us evaluate for tooth decay, infection and bone loss.  Without X-rays we cannot do a thorough exam, nor can we be sure that we are diagnosing you properly.  Some of the things we can see only with an X-ray include: small areas of decay between the teeth or underneath a filling, tooth and gum abscesses, developmental abnormalities, cysts and tumors.
Dental X-rays are taken for different reasons.  When you first visit a new dentist, normally they will take a Full Mouth Series of x-rays.  This can be up to 26 films taken to show every tooth and every root in your mouth.  This will give us a base line to start treatment.  After that, once a year you will need check-up x-rays, or bitewings.  This is 2-8 films used to check between the teeth for decay and bone levels.  Every 5 years, a Full Mouth Series is done, instead of check up x-rays, with a complete examination.   If you have pain, we may take 1 or 2 x-rays to help diagnose the problem. 
Some people think they should not have dental x-rays because of radiation exposure.  But, dental x-rays only expose us to a very small amount of radiation.  Much smaller than naturally occurring cosmic radiation and radon.  We also limit your full body exposure with the use of a lead apron.  This apron also has a thyroid collar that goes around the neck. 
If you have questions about Dental X-rays, talk to your dental professional today!