Dental X-Rays for Superior Diagnosis
While regular teeth cleanings can tell your dentist a lot about your oral health, X-ray technology offers a look beyond the surface of your teeth. X-rays are a valuable tool for early detection of dental issues and for keeping your oral health in tip-top shape. Still, some people are nervous about getting their first X-ray. Get the facts before X-ray time and learn all about this exceptional diagnostic tool below.
Why Are X-Rays Needed?
X-rays are a great tool for early diagnosis of cavities, broken fillings and a range of other dental issues. Basically, X-rays allow your dentist to see what is happening below the surface and in between your teeth. Not only does this present an opportunity for your dentist to pinpoint potential problematic areas sooner, detecting these issues early and taking care of them means less time at the dentist for you. Although we’d love to see our patients more often, our goal at Perimeter Dental Group is to keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright. To do this, we utilize the most up-to-date technology to give our patients better diagnostics and better results.
Learn more about our X-ray exams here!
Types of X-Rays
There are two main methods under the dental X-ray umbrella: intraoral and extraoral. An intraoral X-ray takes a picture of the inside the mouth, while an extraoral X-ray takes a picture of the outside the mouth and skull. These are broken up even further with different views and types of X-rays. The most common include:
- Bitewing: This intraoral view is evenly split between the upper and lower parts of the jaw to allow your dentist to detect evidence of decay, cavities or bone loss in the back teeth and bicuspids that would otherwise be difficult to locate. The standard of care is to update these x-rays once a year.
- Periapical: This intraoral technique is used to fully examine a tooth from crown to root. It’s most commonly used as a precursor to endodontic therapy and root canals.
- Panoramic: This is an extraoral method used to capture your entire mouth in a single image. This gives your dentist a snapshot of your mouth to see tooth development, identify any emerging or impacted teeth, abscesses and tumors. We like to update this x-ray once every 5 years to check on the health of our patients.
- Cone-beam computed tomography (CT): This type of extraoral X-ray uses a cone-shaped X-ray beam to take 3-D images of your jaw and face. (Fun fact: We use this machine here at Perimeter Dental!)
Are They Safe?
If you’ve ever done a quick Google search for dental X-rays, you’ve likely come across the question of safety. Despite any claims you may have seen about purported risks, they are, in fact, safe. Dental X-rays use extremely low doses of radiation that are safe for adults and children. What’s more, dental practices that use digital X-rays present an even lower risk of radiation exposure. Our own practice utilizes digital X-rays rather than developed film, reducing patient exposure to X-rays by as much as 90%. We also have a 3-D cone beam machine to perform patient X-rays. This machine emits the lowest level of radiation on the market with the clearest images. This means we have the ability to see your head and neck anatomy extremely accurately, thus providing a much better diagnosis.
Pregnancy & X-Ray Safety
Pregnancy is virtually the only exception to X-ray safety rule. Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant should avoid X-rays of all types if possible. This is because radiation exposure is unsafe for developing fetuses. Notify your dentist if you believe you are pregnant and hold off on any X-rays for the time being.
How it Works
Your dental hygienist will usually walk you through the process of getting an X-ray. To help you feel a bit more prepared, though, here’s what the process typically looks like. Many dental practices have X-ray machines built into exam rooms, while others have separate rooms for X-rays. In either case, you’ll sit in a dental chair and a hygienist will place a lead vest across your chest and lap. This protects the abdominal region while X-rays are taken. You may also have a device placed in your mouth to keep your bite in place. This helps to achieve the best possible view of your mouth on the X-ray. Your dental professional will then snap an X-ray of your teeth, and you’re good to go.
Dental X-Ray Services at Perimeter Dental Group
Dental X-rays offer a clear picture of dental health, letting us give patients the best diagnosis and treatment path possible. At Perimeter Dental Group, we combine state-of-the-art dental technology with experienced professionals and a catalog of dental procedures and treatments to deliver superior results to our patients. If you’re in need of a dental cleaning or X-ray, or are experiencing dental issues, schedule an appointment with our team today!