Dental X-Rays: Purpose, Procedure, and Risks

Dental X-rays are a standard procedure used by dentists and oral health professionals. They allow them to diagnose problems with your teeth and gums and detect potential issues that may need treatment. The different types of dental X-Rays have one thing in common; they use ionizing radiation to form images on film or computer screens.

What Are Dental X-Rays?

Dental X-rays are a non-invasive way to see inside the mouth. Both film and digital X-rays are quite painless. However, digital is better than traditional X-rays as they allow dentists to zoom in on problem areas and are easily shared among colleges, should specialists need to be involved in the case for some reason.

Dental X-rays use ionizing radiations to produce images of your teeth and gums. These X-ray images help dentists diagnose problems like decay, infections, and other conditions that affect your teeth or mouth.

Different Types Of Dental X-Rays?

The two most common types of dental radiography are intraoral X-rays and extraoral X-rays:

Intraoral X-rays

  1. Bitewing X-rays: Bitewing X-rays detect cavities between teeth and can show the level of bone supporting the teeth.
  2. Occlusal X-rays: These X-rays show a broad view of the roof or floor of the mouth. Dentists do this x-ray to detect extra teeth, jaw fractures, and other issues.
  3. Periapical X-rays: Dental radiographs capture comprehensive images of teeth, including the crown, root, and surrounding bone.

Extraoral X-rays

  1. Panoramic X-rays show the entire mouth, including all teeth, upper and lower jaws, and structures.
  2. Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT): This 3D X-ray provides detailed images of the teeth, jaw, and entire mouth structures.

What Is The Purpose Of Dental X-Rays?

If you experience any issues with your teeth, a dentist in Folsom can help diagnose the problem by taking X-rays of your mouth to reveal the shape and size of each tooth. They use this information to diagnose problems with any tooth or jaw bone. The primary purpose of the dental X-ray;

  • Detecting tooth decay
  • Checking for cavities
  • Evaluating tooth’s root and jaw health
  • Monitoring tooth development
  • Planning orthodontic treatment
  • Assessing damage or injury
  • Identifying impacted teeth
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of previous dental procedures
  • Monitoring overall oral health

The Procedure Of Dental X-Rays?

During this procedure, you’ll be asked to bite down on film while in the dentist’s office in Folsom; the film will then be placed in an X-ray machine to take images of your teeth and gums. These images will then be displayed on a computer for reading.

You may also receive local anesthesia applied around sensitive areas like teeth or gums if discomfort occurs during the examination (this does not require general anesthesia). However, this is not common as dental X-rays aren’t super invasive.

What Risks Of Dental X-Rays?

There are no long-term risks from dental x-rays.

Radiation exposure: The ionizing radiation can damage the cells and DNA. However, the amount utilized in digital images is very minuscule and isn’t considered dangerous at all, even for pregnant women.

Thyroid gland damage: The thyroid gland is susceptible to radiation. They expose the neck to radiation, while dental x-rays can damage the thyroid gland. Again, though, through modern technology, this isn’t really an issue any longer with digital x-rays. But, it can still be an issue if the dentist uses older technology with film.

Dental x-rays have minimal risk of any kind. They use minimal radiation to capture the images on the computer. There is little need to redo x-rays, as they are no longer film based. The images can be darkened or lightened on the computer. This allows the dentist to look at and read a much better image.