Dental X-Rays: What Do Dentists Look For?

16 April 2020

To our valued patients,

The team at Oakville place Dental office is closely monitoring the developments regarding COVID-19. Your dental health and safety is still our priority.

As soon as the province allows dental offices to open for general dental care, we will be letting you know, and we look forward to that time.

In the meantime, should you have a dental emergency or concern, please email our office.

For Dr. Kazdan, please

For Dr. Solomon, please

These emails are monitored often, and we will try to get back to you as soon as we can.

Please leave us an email and phone number to contact. You can also call 289 259 8565.

We look forward to healthy smiles and safer times.

Dr. Solomon, Dr. Kazdan

Diagnostic imaging techniques are essential tools in the medical and dental industry. Diagnostic imaging describes a number of non-invasive procedures to look within the structures of the body to determine the cause of illness and make a diagnosis.

It can also assist medical or dental professionals in determining how the body is responding to treatment and track the recovery process. Dental X-rays, also known as radiographs, allow dental professionals to take images of your teeth to help evaluate the health of your teeth and gums.

Dental X-rays produce 2D images which capture the anatomy of your bones and teeth below the surface of the gums and tooth enamel. Dental X-rays administer a very low level of radiation to capture the interior images of your teeth and gums.

Dental X-rays are simple and essential tools used to identify any number of problems, including tooth decay, cavities, and impacted teeth. It’s important to keep up to date with your dental X-rays and have them taken, when needed, at your regular teeth cleanings.

Why are dental X-rays performed?

In order to maintain your oral health, brushing at least twice a day and flossing regularly is key, in addition to visiting the dentist at least twice a year for a check-up. Dental X-rays are performed at these dental check-ups, and it’s recommended that they are performed at least once a year.

In some cases, dental X-rays may be required more often if the dentist suspects that there is a dental problem or to track your progress post-treatment. How often you receive a dental X-ray can also be based on factors including your age, current oral health status, symptoms you may be experiencing, or a history of gum disease or tooth decay.

Dental X-rays are performed during an initial visit to a new dentist. As a new patient, a dental X-ray allows the new dentist to obtain a clear picture of your current oral health status, so they can determine what type of treatment you require.

Generally, children may require dental X-rays to be taken more frequently to track the growth and development of their adult teeth. Dental X-rays can help dentists monitor baby teeth as well and determine whether or not they need to be pulled so that adult teeth can grow in properly and prevent any complications.

Types of X-Rays

Different types of X-rays allow dentists to view your mouth from different views, with the most common type of X-ray being intraoral. Intraoral X-rays include the following:

1. Panoramic

As its name describes, a panoramic X-ray rotates around your head to get a complete view. The panoramic X-ray is used to examine your wisdom teeth, your jaw, or to prepare for a dental device to be implanted in your mouth.

2. Bitewing

This type of X-ray involves biting down onto a piece to allow the dentist to determine how well the crowns of your teeth match up. Seeing how well the crowns of your teeth match up can be used as a way to examine the space between your teeth for cavities.

3. Occlusal

In order to examine how your upper and lower teeth line up, an occlusal X-ray is taken with your jaw closed. This type of X-ray is also used to uncover any abnormalities, if any, with the palate or the floor of the mouth by capturing an image of all of your teeth in one image.

4. Periapical

This type of X-ray provides a more in-depth look at two teeth and allows examination of those two teeth from the root up to the crown.

5. Extraoral

Extraoral X-rays are focused on problems that may be occurring in areas outside of the gums and teeth.

What do dentists look for in X-rays?

Once you’ve been prepped and the X-ray images are taken, the dentist will be able to review them and see if anything looks abnormal or of concern. Dental professionals use X-rays as a way to help discover any problems in your mouth such as cavities, plaque and tartar buildup, tooth decay, rotting root, or issues with your jaw bone, etc.

Examining your teeth from an external viewpoint can only provide a limited amount of information. Without the ability to view internal structures, a correct diagnosis and treatment regimen cannot be prescribed.

If any problems are detected in your X-rays — such as a cavity — the dentist will take the correct action to help treat your dental problems. They may also request future X-rays to help track your progress post-treatment and ensure that there isn’t any re-infection in your teeth or gums.

Dental X-rays allow dentists to diagnose any problems as early as possible and implement the appropriate treatment plan to help treat the concern before it worsens. If any oral health problems are left undetected, they can worsen and affect deeper layers or your teeth or other structures in your mouth and become harder to treat. Dental X-rays can help catch problems before they become a threat to your overall health.

Are there any risks involved with dental X-rays?

When we hear the word X-ray, our minds may jump to the thought of exposing our mouths and some of the areas around it to radiation. Although there is radiation involved with dental X-rays, the levels are significantly low and safe enough for both young children and adults.

As an extra precaution, you will also be fitted with a lead bib that is large enough to cover your chest, abdomen, and pelvic area. This serves as a barrier to help protect important organs in these regions from exposure to radiation.

Lead bib or not, radiation exposure is not safe for a developing fetus, so pregnant women should avoid all types of X-rays. Alternatively, digital X-rays emit an extremely low level of radiation, so they are a significantly safer option.

Dental X-rays should be considered a part of your regular dental check-ups and should be taken at least once a year to help keep updated images of the internal parts of your teeth and gums. Dental X-rays do not have to be limited to your regular check-ups.

If you do feel any symptoms of concern, a dental X-ray may be prescribed to help dental professionals determine what exactly is going on in your mouth. Don’t wait until your symptoms have progressed before reaching out to a dental professional for help.

Let our team of highly trained professionals at Oakville Place Dental help answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding dental X-rays so you can be well informed before a consultation.

To learn more about what dentists look for in x-rays, call Oakville Place Dental at 647-496-2721 or contact us here.

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