Dental Screening & X-Rays
Dental X-rays are pictures of the teeth, bones, and soft tissues around them to help find problems with the teeth, mouth, and jaw. X-ray pictures can show cavities, hidden dental structures (such as wisdom teeth), and bone loss that cannot be seen during a visual examination.
Dental X-rays Safety
TBecause X-ray machines and other sources of dental radiographs are designed to minimize radiation, these processes are safe and your exposure is negligible. Many offices, in fact, are now using digital X-rays, which further reduces radiation exposure.
How Often Are X-rays Needed? Everyone’s oral health varies, and as a result, the dentist will evaluate your needs and recommend an X-ray schedule accordingly. If you’re a new patient, the dentist may advise taking a full series of X-rays or panoramic image to assess your current oral health state, and use this as a baseline going forward. As you continue your regular checkup visits, fewer X-rays are needed to monitor the status of your oral health.
X-ray Types. Bitewing, periapical and panoramic radiographs are the most common X-rays used in the dental office. During routine exams, your dentist may take two to four bitewing x-rays – which show the crown portions of your teeth – to check for early signs of decay between your teeth. When he wants to get a good look at your teeth’s bone height or root tips, periapical X-rays provide the best view.
Your dentist will decide which type of x-ray you need and will explain why you are receiving an x-ray and how the x-ray works. Your dentist or dental assistant will set the machine up and normally leave the room before taking the x-ray. This is to ensure your dentist doesn’t get to much exposure to the machine. Your dentist will only take x-rays when they believe it to be necessary.
If you are pregnant the dentist should only perform an x-ray in an emergency situation.