Plateau Dental Care

Dental X-rays – Your Frequently asked questions answered

Why take dental x-rays?

Regular dental x-rays are an integral part of a preventative approach to your dental health.

They help your dentist to get the full picture of your oral health, and often detect any possible problems earlier than simple routine visual examination. X-rays can reveal much more than just cavities or decay, including monitoring wisdom teeth development, and the presence or severity of bone loss associated with gum disease.

What types of x-rays does my dentist use?

The most common dental x-ray is a bitewing, which shows both the upper and lower back teeth in a single image. This area of your mouth, especially between your teeth, is a hotspot for decay-causing plaque and therefore a bitewing x-ray allows your dentist to find any decay between your teeth.

Another common dental x-ray used is a periapical x-ray, which in comparison to a bitewing focuses on a single tooth in more detail, including the whole tooth root. This allows for a more detailed examination of a localised area, especially if there has been damage to the tooth, socket or surrounding bone.

Sometimes, a full mouth x-ray, called an OPG (Orthopantomogram), is required to determine the best treatment and care, especially when it comes to wisdom teeth and other root development. An OPG provides dentists with the full picture of your mouth when assessing your oral health.

A more detailed high definition X-ray view can be obtained via a type of scan called a CBCT or Cone Beam CT (computerised tomography). These are particularly useful in correctly placing implants within the jaw bones and when working close to large nerves, sinuses etc. CBCTs are also able to demonstrate extra nerve/root canals within teeth, and fractured or extra tooth roots.

Depending on your oral health and specific situation your dentist will decide which x-rays will provide the most valuable information.

Should I be concerned about radiation?

There is no reason to be concerned about radiation from Dental X-rays, as the radiation exposure is extremely low. It is a similar amount of radiation to a short (1-2hr) commercial flight. If the radiation is so low why does my dentist leave the room? Dentists may take multiple x-rays throughout the course of a day, adding up to a more significant exposure to radiation.

Taking regular x-rays means more detailed tracking and management of your dental health. Comparing x-rays allows smaller changes to be identified. Long term this can translate to savings for your health, time and your wallet. It is a simple and painless way for the dentist to better look after you.

The best resource, if you have any concerns or questions about dental x-rays is your dentist! We are always more than happy to help answer any questions.





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