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How are dental X-rays used?

By  , Expert Content
Feb 24, 2011
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

X-ray images in dental practice are one of the most important investigations that a dentist does for keeping your mouth and teeth healthy. As he or she knows how the structure of the mouth look normally on an X-ray film, the dentists is able to diagnose problems in the teeth and jaws. X-ray can aid to diagnose certain dental problems in initial stages and allow planning of treatment accordingly. There are various types of dental X-rays (extraoral and intraoral X-rays). These help to look at different aspects of the teeth and jaw. Your dentist may recommend Bite-wing X-rays, Periapical X-rays, Panoramic X-rays, Orthodontic X-rays (also called cephalometric or lateral skull), depending on what he or she wants to look at.

A dental radiograph in an adult shows;

  • Areas of decay that may not be seen on visual examination.
  • Decay or caries underneath a filling in tooth
  • Cracks or other damage in the present filling
  • Bone loss in a person with periodontal (gum) disease
  • Troubles in root canal, such as infection or death of the nerve
  • Problems such as cysts, cancer and changes present in metabolic and systemic diseases (such as Paget's disease and lymphoma)

X-rays assist your dentist to plan and prepare for procedures such as tooth implants, orthodontic treatments, dentures.

A dental radiograph in a child shows;

  • Areas of decay that may not be seen on visual examination.
  • Monitor growth and development of a tooth
  • Periodic X-rays may be done to see if the space in the mouth is enough to fit all the new teeth
  • If extra (supernumerary) teeth are present or whether the tooth has got impacted (unable to emerge through the gums).

X-ray can aid to diagnose certain dental problems in initial stages and allow planning of treatment accordingly.

How Often Should Your Teeth Be X-rayed?

Most people do not require X-ray on a regular basis. If you have a dental problem your dentist may advise X-rays on a regular basis so that the disease can be monitored. The exact schedule cannot be predicted, it will be decided by your dentist depending on your medical and dental history and current condition.

People who need frequent or regular radiographs include:

  • Children: Some children may need X-rays on a regular schedule (every six months to one year) as decided by the dentist owing to the high risk of development of tooth caries. The X-rays can help to monitor growth and development of teeth as well.
  • Adults: Adults in whom several dental restoration work including fillings have been done may be advised X-rays on a regular schedule (every six months to one year) by the dentist to identify decay beneath existing fillings or in new locations. If you have plenty of sugary sodas, chocolate milk or coffee or tea with sugar or eat plenty of candy or sweets you may need to have more regular X-rays. People with oral problems such as periodontal (gum) disease, dry mouth may need regular dental X-rays.

 


Read more articles on Dental Health.

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