A common concern about x-rays is radiation exposure and whether you need them. As with all medical procedures, the risk is weighed against the benefits. The low amount of radiation in dental x-rays means that the risks are essentially insignificant, especially with the lower doses of radiation with digital x-rays. The benefits of x-rays is that they allow us to catch problems early, so the treatment is more conservative and costs less.
With an x-ray we can see cavities that are THIS big.
With our magnifying eyewear we can see cavities that are THIS big.
When it starts to hurt, the cavity is THIS big.
The pictures below are of the same tooth. (A) What the dentist can see just by looking inside your mouth. This tooth looks perfectly healthy and the patient is not having any pain. (B) But the x-ray shows an entirely different story! The tooth has a very large cavity! By taking x-rays, we can diagnose problems with your teeth before they progress to the point where they are visible to the naked eye.
Types of Dental X-rays
There are a few different types of x-rays:
This type of x-rays shows the whole tooth, both what you can see above the gums and what is hidden below the gums. These can help diagnose the presence of an infection or a fracture.
Cavity detecting x-rays
These are exactly what they sound like, they help show if a tooth has a cavity. They actually also help tell us how healthy the gums/bone are by showing if the bone surrounding the tooth has started to pull away.
This is a wraparound x-ray where you stand still in the machine and it moves around your head. this gives us a whole picture of your head to help diagnose the health of your jaw joint, the presence of cysts, wisdom teeth, and dental development in children.
This type of x-ray gives a 3D picture of your teeth. These are used if you are getting an implant or sometimes even for a root canal to help the dentist visualize exactly where important structures are so they can plan how to approach your case.