Preventive Dental Care: Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays are an important component of a preventive dental care plan and provide for pictures of the teeth, bones and soft tissues around them. They can be used to detect problems with the teeth, mouth and jaw that cannot be detected during dental checkups. Dental X-rays can also be used for follow up after a dental procedure. For these reasons, the following types of dental X-rays are taken:

Bitewing X-rays – this type of X-ray shows the upper and lower back teeth and how the teeth touch each other, in a single view. They are commonly used to check for decay between the teeth and to show how well the upper and lower teeth are aligned. They also show bone loss when severe gum disease or a dental infection is present.

Panoramic X-rays – this type of X-ray shows a broad view of the jaws, teeth, sinuses, nasal area, and temporomandibular (jaw) joints. They do not find cavities, however, they do show problems such as impacted teeth, bone abnormalities, cysts, solid growths (tumors), infections, and fractures.

Periapical X-rays – this type of X-ray shows the entire tooth, from the exposed crown to the end of the root.  It also shows the bones that support the tooth. They  are used to find dental problems below the gum line or in the jaw including abscesses, cysts, tumors, impacted teeth and bone changes/abnormalities.

Occlusal X-rays – this type of X-ray shows the roof or floor of the mouth and are used to find extra teeth, teeth that have not yet broken through the gums, jaw fractures, a cleft in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate), cysts, abscesses, or growths.

The frequency of dental X-rays will depend on your individual dental health. If you have never had dental X-rays taken or if it has been a long time since you have had dental X-rays taken, schedule an appointment with your dentist today. He or she will recommend a dental X-ray schedule according to your specific needs.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Randy Muccioli, Muccioli Dental

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