What we can learn from a dental X-ray

Thursday, January 23, 2020


Modern technology has come a long way, with dental X-rays or radiographs now the norm as part of your dental health regime. These new technologies play a hugely important role in detecting dental issues early, helping to avoid ongoing problems and speed up treatments.

Why we use dental X-rays
Dental X-rays are used for a range of reasons, and are usually performed on a yearly basis. How often you need a dental X-ray can depend on your age, any presenting symptoms of disease, your overall oral health and your dental health history. Children may require X-rays more frequently as Dentists will be monitoring the growth of their adult teeth, and wisdom teeth.


X-rays are a diagnostic tooth that give your Dentist an opportunity to view inside and between your teeth, as well as the roots of your teeth and the bone under the gums. This is an incredibly valuable view and can assist in diagnosing the following:
• Cavities
• Extent of tooth decay
• Wisdom teeth
• Impacted teeth
• Cysts
• Abscesses
• Twisted or damaged roots
• Damaged or broken teeth


The types of dental X-rays
There are 3 main types of X-rays used by dentists. A bitewing X-ray is the most common, and shows the crown of your teeth in order to see any signs of early decay.

A Periapical X-ray gives a more thorough view of the tooth’s bone height and the tips of the roots.

A Panoramic X-ray is taken from outside of the mouth and develops an image of the full oral cavity which shows the teeth, lower and upper jaw and sinus area. This is used for a more thorough view of overall oral health, and can help pick up on tumours, impacted teeth, cysts, issues in the jaw and bone irregularities.

Are dental X-rays safe?
We’re often asked if dental X-rays are safe, and the answer is yes. X-rays do use a small amount of radiation, however it’s so small that it doesn’t have any impact on health. Dental X-rays will only be used when required, and usually only once per year, however there’s no reason to be concerned around safety when undertaking a dental X-ray.

The only instance where your Dentist will avoid an X-ray is during pregnancy. Any form of radiation and X-ray is not considered safe for a growing fetus, and should be avoided. Make sure to let your dentist know if you are or think you are pregnant.

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