Dental Tips Blog


Why Are X-Rays Necessary

Routine dental x-rays allow your dentist and hygienist to evaluate areas that are not visible during a clinical examination. Some things that your dentist looks for on routine x-rays include:

  • Missing, malpositioned, or extra teeth
  • Dental decay or abscesses
  • Bone loss
  • Tartar buildup
  • Orofacial pathology such as tumors and cysts

Conditions such as bone loss, tartar buildup and tooth decay may not be visible when looking directly at the teeth. It is important to diagnose these conditions early on so that proactive measures can be taken to prevent the further advances of dental disease. When early care is taken, it enables your dentist to treat the problem while it is still small and inexpensive. Delaying much needed dental care enables the disease condition to progress into something that is more invasive and costly when it comes to corrective care.

When left untreated, some conditions can lead to tooth loss and the complication of other systemic health conditions. Routine x-rays enable your dentist to provide proactive care when conditions first arise.  Most dental offices now use digital X-rays which are easier to use and store and can be easily shared with a specialist.

Not all x-rays are the same. Different types of films are taken in order to view different angles of the mouth and teeth, and may not show anatomy that another does.

Below are the most common films taken in a dental office:

Panoramic x-rays – Enable your dentist to evaluate the eruption and formation of the permanent teeth, including wisdom teeth.

Bitewing x-rays – Used primarily to screen for decay and bone loss.

Periapical x-rays – Include the root tip for diagnosis of abscess, or when treating specific teeth.

Occlusal x-rays – Used to evaluate the development of the anterior permanent teeth.

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