It When your dentist tells you to “open wide,” a visual exam of your teeth can only reveal so much. That’s precisely why dental radiographs (x-rays) are so important. This diagnostic tool gives your dentist an inside look at the teeth, gums, roots, connecting bones and spaces between the teeth. It’s an important tool because it’s easy to miss potential dental problems that can be minimized or prevented early on. Here’s everything you need to know about dental x-rays.
- They’re typically one and done. Dental x-rays capture necessary images of your teeth, but your dentist likely only needs to monitor such images annually. Your dentist may choose to order additional x-rays if he or she is monitoring a particular oral issue (cavities, gum disease, etc.), but those who enjoy a clean bill of health won’t have to go under the machine more than once. Keep in mind that if you switch dentists or dental offices, the new providers will likely require new x-rays to ensure they have the most up-to-date information on your pearly whites.
- They’re completely safe. One thing you won’t have to worry about is being exposed to is higher-than-normal radiation levels during a dental x-ray. While radiographs will always emit some radiation, the latest technologies have vastly reduced the amount. As a general rule, you should limit your exposure to radiation. The amount of radiation from a two bite wing X-ray or a panoramic X-ray is comparable to the amount a person is exposed to during a regular day. So, there’s no need to worry. Two bite wing X-rays are key for pinpointing potential cavities or bone loss from periodontal disease. A panoramic X-ray is a diagnostic tool for cysts or changes to the roots and surrounding bones. The abdominal and thyroid shields dentists use in the office can also help protect you against additional radiation.
- They’re quick, easy and beneficial. Getting a dental x-ray is a simple procedure that will be over before you know it. The only thing you need to do beforehand is brush your teeth to ensure proper hygiene. A protective vest covers your chest and lap to limit personal exposure to the rays. After your x-ray, you’ll move onto the dental cleaning while the x-rays develop. Your dentist will carefully examine them before he or she comes in to do the final exam. You’ll discuss any potential problems and determine a treatment plan, if necessary.
Ultimately, your smile is important, so it’s essential that you take care of it. Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help your teeth continue to look their best. For the latest and greatest information about x-rays and other procedures talk to the dental professionals at TenderCare Dental. Our team is happy to help you determine what procedures to schedule and how to maintain good oral health outside the office.