Your dentist is able to check for signs of dental problems by looking at your teeth and gums, but some problems might be hidden from sight. Dental X-rays help dentists detect problems with teeth and jaws that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Examining these X-rays allows dentists to check for signs of dental problems and determine the most effective form of treatment. Here’s a closer look at the different ways in which dental X-rays help determine oral health.
Decay and Damage
X-rays help dentists discover tooth decay, bone loss, broken roots and other dental problems that are usually hidden. With the use of X-rays, dentists have a better chance of detecting these problems at an early stage, which helps reduce the risk of complications or the development of more serious issues.
Dentists can use X-rays to look for abnormal growths in the mouth and jaw, such as tumours and cysts. They can also be used to look for lesions and other possible signs of oral cancer. Abscesses, which require prompt treatment to reduce the risk of further infection, can also be diagnosed with the help of X-rays.
X-rays can show dentists that teeth are impacted, which might may require removal of one or more teeth. Impacted teeth are teeth that have no room to come up through the gums. This is most common with wisdom teeth, resulting in the need to have them removed.
Dentists can check dental X-rays to see where a child’s permanent teeth are and how they’re growing before they break through the gums. These X-rays are typically done on young children who still have their baby teeth. They assist in determining how many permanent teeth there are, whether there are any missing or whether there are extra permanent teeth.
Root canals, orthodontic treatments, periodontal treatments, dental implants and other dental procedures require the use of X-rays beforehand. These X-rays help dentists determine the best course of treatment.
Types of X-rays
Dentists use several different types of dental X-rays, including the following:
- Bitewing: Dentists use these X-rays to look for evidence of tooth decay and check tooth alignment. They can also be used to detect gum disease, bone loss and infections. They let dentists see all of the teeth in the back of the mouth.
- Periapical: Dentists use the X-rays to look for growths, impacted teeth and abscesses. They make it possible for dentists to see the whole tooth, including the roots and the bones around the tooth.
- Panoramic: Dentists take these to check for growths, infections, bone problems, impacted teeth and fractures. They provide a wide view of the entire mouth area, including the jaw joints. Dentists can also see the nasal area on these X-rays.
Ask your dentist about how often you should have X-rays taken in order to maintain good oral health.