Regular dental exams are crucial for detecting oral health issues in their earliest stages. Dental exams may also be performed if you are experiencing an oral health issue in between your regularly scheduled visits. A major part of the diagnostic process is the visual exam of your mouth. However, we can only see so much with the naked eye. To make a complete diagnosis, we also need to see the hidden parts of your mouth, including in between your teeth and underneath your gums. At Van Alstine Family Dentistry, we can get a complete look into your mouth with dental X-rays.
What Are Dental X-Rays?
Dental X-rays, also called radiographs, are images taken of your mouth that show the areas that we are not able to see with the naked eye. These areas include the spaces between your teeth, the roots of your teeth, and your jawbone. They also show the periodontal ligaments, or the structures that hold your teeth in place, as well as soft tissues. Dental X-rays are a critical part of your oral healthcare record. While they are often used for diagnostic purposes, they are also preventative.
Types Of Dental X-Rays
There are several different types of dental X-rays, including:
- Bitewing X-rays. These show the upper and lower teeth at the back of the mouth in one view.
- Periapical X-rays. These images show the whole tooth, from the crown to the root. They also show the supporting bone.
- Occlusal X-rays. These X-rays show the roof and the floor of the mouth.
- Panoramic X-rays. These X-rays show a wide view of your jaws, as well as your teeth, the sinus cavities, your nose, and your temporomandibular joints.
Reasons For Dental X-Rays
There are several reasons why X-rays are taken.
- Checking the condition of the teeth. X-rays can be used to spot hidden tooth decay between the teeth as well as physical damage to the teeth below the gum line. They can also detect damage to the structures supporting the teeth.
- Assessing the alignment of the teeth and determining issues such as impacted teeth or overcrowding.
- Monitoring the development of adult teeth in children.
- Finding growths such as cysts, abscesses, and tumors.
- Planning treatments. X-rays are an important tool for planning some different treatments, including treatment for cavities, root canal procedures, surgical tooth extractions, and placement of dental implants. They can also be used to plan orthodontic treatments as well.
How Often Should X-Rays Be Taken?
The frequency of your dental X-rays depends mainly on your specific situation. If you are more at risk for tooth decay or other issues, you are likely to need images taken more frequently than those who are not. Typically, adults who have a healthy mouth need bitewing X-rays every 2 to 3 years. Teens should have these images taken every 18 months to 3 years, and children should have them taken every six months to 1 year. People who may need frequent X-rays include:
- Adults who have several fillings, crowns, or other restorations.
- Those with gum disease.
- Those who suffer from dry mouth.
- Those who use tobacco products.
Dental X-rays provide us with a complete look at your mouth, enabling us to see its condition, diagnose a variety of different issues, and make effective treatment plans. If you have any questions or concerns about dental X-rays, call Van Alstine Family Dentistry today at Van Alstine Family Dentistry Phone Number (734) 482-8500.