Like with many other medical fields, visual examinations carried out by your dentist will be highly effective and valuable — but can also only tell so much. There are certain potential oral care issues that may require a deeper look, and one of the top tools used for this purpose by dentists across the country is the dental X-ray.
At Bright Side Dental, we’re happy to offer a wide range of general dentistry services in Sterling Heights and surrounding areas, including everything from tooth cleaning and fluoride treatments through a variety of dental X-rays you or your child might need. Why are dental X-rays used, what are the different types that might be ordered, and how often are these needed? Here’s a primer on everything you need to know.
Basic Role of Dental X-Rays
A dental X-ray is a type of photograph that uses different types of radiation to create an image of the inside of the mouth. This can be used for various purposes, including detecting tooth decay, or diagnosing abnormalities caused by cancer cells.
Dental X-rays will show several potential additional issues, including:
- Cysts and tumors
- Decay beneath fillings
- Bone loss in the jaw, often due to periodontal disease
- Specific positioning of teeth that will assist with implants, braces or dentures
- Abscesses and related issues
Types of Dental X-Rays
There are several varieties of dental X-rays out there, but the three most common are as follows:
- Bitewing X-rays: To locate early signs of decay between back teeth or bicuspids
- Periapical: Used to focus on just one or two specific teeth
- Panoramic: Shows the entire mouth in a single image, taken from outside the mouth to help identify things like jaw disorders or bone issues
How Often Are Dental X-Rays Needed?
The standard recommendation for adults is to get their X-rays every two years, though if you have a type of tooth condition or risk factor that may increase your dental care needs, then it might be a good idea to have your X-rays more frequently. Similarly, child patients should have them at least once every year as they’re growing and developing.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
Dental X-rays are completely safe, using only a very low level of radiation that is not harmful. If you’re concerned here, you can ask for added levels of protection, such as a leaded apron that will cover most of your body during the X-ray.
In some cases, pregnant women may be advised to wait on a dental X-ray until after giving birth. However, with proper protection, even expecting mothers can often receive these X-rays without any problem.
For more on dental X-rays or any of our other family dentist services in Sterling Heights or nearby areas, speak to the staff at Bright Side Dental today.