Every time you go to the dentist for an exam, one of the standard procedures is to receive dental x-rays. Do you know what they are used for, or the type of X-Rays you are receiving? There are several types of X-Rays that can be used for different functions. These X-Rays help assist the dentist to determine any problem areas you could be experiencing and help maximize oral health.
Panoramic X-Rays are one of the most common X-Ray techniques used by dental offices today. These types of X-Rays help capture the full view of the mouth. If you have stood on a circular platform while a machine circled your head, then you have probably had panoramic x-rays done at a previous appointment. Panoramic x-rays show the entire mouth while allowing the dentist to see any impacted teeth, incoming adult teeth, and the wisdom teeth. It helps determine if the teeth are doing okay and if they need potential assistance coming through. This type of x-ray also helps the dentist detect problem areas that could include tumors, cysts, and abscesses.
Periapical X-Rays and Bitewing X-Ray
When a dentist takes x-rays, they want to be able to see all areas of the mouth in detail. This is something panoramic x-rays have a hard time providing. Although they provide a nice picture of all four quadrants, for detail you want to use a bitewing or periapical x-ray. With these types of x-rays, you will be able to see a better view of gaps, making it easier to detect tooth decay and cavities. Periapical X-Rays all the dentist to focus on a particular problem tooth. Making it easier for the dentist to comprise a plan to fix the tooth that is bothering the patient.
How Safe are Dental X-Rays?
With any x-rays, the patient is exposed to low levels of radiation. Dental x-rays are considered to be extremely safe. The patients are exposed to the radiation for a short period of time, and protective coverings such as aprons provide additional protection to ensure no harm comes to the patient. You will find that most dental offices only take x-rays when it is only necessary for lowering exposure even more. Other factors are considered when determining if a patient needs to have x-rays taken. Some of these factors include age, oral health history, risk factors of certain conditions, and if the patient is experiencing any symptoms such as pain or bleeding.
For more information about x-rays always remember to talk to your dentist about any concerns you may have, as they will be able to help answer the tough questions.