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Dental X-rays; The What, Why, Types & Safety

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Are you worried about whether you need dental X-rays? Do you feel afraid that you should forego the procedure because of other medical conditions? Are you scared that you may develop certain conditions after the procedure?

Well, all you need is to dive a little deeper into what dental X-rays are all about.  

What are Dental X-rays?

Dental X-rays, also known as dental radiographs, are images of your teeth that your dentist uses to evaluate your oral health. They are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan, without which most of the oral problems would go unnoticed until the situation gets worse.

Just like other types of X-rays, they are a form of energy that can travel through or are absorbed by solid objects. This energy passes through less dense objects like the gums and cheeks, appearing as dark areas on X-ray film, and is absorbed by dense objects such as the teeth and bones, showing up in films as light coloured areas within the darker, less-dense soft tissues that surround them.  

Types of X-Rays Dental X-ray;

Can be divided into two major categories, i.e., intraoral (X-rays taken inside the mouth) and extraoral (taken outside of the mouth). The most common types of X-rays performed include; ·

  1. Periapical X-ray: Offers a view of the entire tooth from the crown to beyond the root where the tooth attaches into the jaw.
  2. Bite-wing X-ray: Shows details of both the lower and upper teeth.
  3. Panoramic X-ray: Shows a view of the entire mouth area, i.e. all the teeth, jaws, nasal area, sinuses and the joints of the jaw.
  4. Occlusal X-ray: Gives a clear view of the floor of the mouth to show the bite of the upper or lower jaw  

Why Are Dental X-Rays Important?

There are several reasons a dentist may recommend dental X-rays.

In adults, they show;

  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • Tooth decay and Abscesses
  • Decay beneath existing fillings
  • Changes in bone or root canal perhaps due to infection
  • Position and condition of the teeth to help prepare for implants, braces, dentures and other dental procedures
  • Cysts and some types of tumors

In children, they determine;

  • If tooth decay if developing
  • If wisdom teeth are developing
  • If there’s enough space in the mouth to fit all the incoming teeth
  • If teeth cannot emerge through the gums  

How often are Dental X-rays needed?

Generally, the frequency of having dental-rays depends on your oral health status. Therefore, your dentist should evaluate your oral needs and recommend an X-ray schedule accordingly.

For instance, if it is your first time to see a dentist, we may advise you to take a full series of X-rays of panoramic image to assess your present oral health state, then use that as a baseline onwards.    

Are Dental X-rays safe?

Dental X-rays require very low levels of radiation exposure, i.e., the dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of dental X-rays is extremely small, and this makes the risk of potentially harmful effects very minimal. Therefore, there is nothing to worry about concerning these X-rays, especially if they are performed properly with adequate safety precautions in place.  

For more information on dental X-rays, kindly contact us on 0716 521043 or book appointment online here.  

Tags: Dental teeth X-rays oral health

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