An Overview of Dental X-rays

By  , Expert Content
Jan 16, 2013

X-rays are a type of waves that can enter solid objects. After entering an object ---they are either absorbed or pass through it. Denser objects have a tendency to absorb X-rays whereas they pass easily through less dense objects. The density of teeth and bone is very high, thus they absorb X-rays, but the X-rays pass easily through gums and cheeks. Hence cheeks and gums appear dark on a dental X-ray, but teeth and bone form a white shadow.

 

X-rays and Intraoral Pictures

 

What Are X-rays?


X-rays are a type of energy which travels in waves. It can enter solid objects. After entering an object they are either absorbed or to pass through it. Denser objects have a tendency to absorb X-rays whereas they pass easily through less dense objects. The density of teeth and bone is very high, thus they absorb X-rays, but the X-rays pass easily through gums and cheeks. Hence cheeks and gums appear dark on a dental X-ray, but teeth and bone form a white shadow. Physicist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays, a form of energy which travels in waves. He named the rays " X," as it is the mathematical symbol for anything that is unknown.

What does an oral X-ray show?

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.

 

 

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