Dental x-rays are an important tool used to help detect cavity and disease within the oral cavity. There are different types of x-rays that we take, including bitewings and periapical x-rays which show just a few teeth in the same area of the mouth. Bitewings are what help us detect cavities and show us bone level, and periapical x-rays show the whole tooth and beyond the apex of the root. Periapical x-rays are often taken during root canal procedures or if a patient comes in with a toothache we will take one to see if there is infection at the end of the root. Other types of radiographs taken show the whole mouth, such as a full series which usually contain 18-20 images of all the teeth, and a Panoramic x-ray which shows the whole oral cavity and the structures surrounding in just one image. These images are an important diagnostic tool that help detect oral issues that the naked eye cannot see. It is important to keep up with routine cleanings and getting the bitewing or “check up” x-rays annually so any dental issues can be caught and treated before causing a problem. Each type of x-ray has its importance and purpose; the dentist you see will let the assistant or hygienist know which x-rays should be taken at your appointment. With the use of digital x-rays, it helps speed up reviewing of x-rays due to the image showing up seconds after exposure. Radiation exposure has also decreased due to this technology; however, we will have lead aprons and thyroid collars for those who feel more comfortable with that extra protection. If you would like to learn more about the importance of x-rays, our clinical staff would be happy to answer any questions!
– from Erica S. (Dental Assistant)