What are Dental X-Rays: Everything you need to know

What are Dental X-Rays: Everything you need to know

Jun 01, 2023

Dental x-rays give the dentist a full view of your teeth and surrounding bone to help them identify and treat any issues. They are essential for diagnosing tooth decay, impacted or missing teeth, abnormalities, and other problems that affect the health of your mouth.

A small amount of radiation is required for these procedures to be effective. This minimal amount is a trade-off for the benefit of identifying and treating serious oral health issues.

Dentists and their technicians follow strict safety guidelines, such as limiting time near the x-ray machine and shielding from radiation exposure when possible. They also have lead aprons to wear during these procedures. The radiation you receive while taking a dental x-ray is very small, especially compared to the daily exposure you’re exposed to from natural sources such as the sun.

What is the Procedure?

Dental x-rays in San Pablo, CA, are common procedures dentists and hygienists perform. They are used to diagnose oral health issues and assess the bone structure.

Usually, they are taken on a single visit to the dentist. The dentist or technician will position an x-ray machine on the side of your mouth, and you will bite down on a small film panel.

These images help your San Pablo dentist see how the upper and lower teeth touch each other and check for cavities.

The procedure for taking dental x-rays is fast and painless. The patient needs to remain calm and receptive throughout the entire process.

Types of Dental X-Rays

There are a few different types of dental x-rays. These types of x-rays are used for different purposes.

  1. Bitewing

During your routine dental checkup, your dentist may recommend taking x-rays to spot problems in your teeth, gums, and jaw. They can show cavities, cracks, chips, wisdom teeth, and other issues.

Dentists use bitewing x-rays to detect cavities between your teeth and adjacent teeth and changes in bone levels caused by periodontal disease.

A bitewing x-ray is taken by placing a small piece of film between your upper and lower teeth. The radiographer will use a Rinn instrument to help position the film in your mouth and aim the x-ray beam.

  1. Periapical

Periapical X-rays help the dentist see the entire tooth from its crown (chewing surface) to its root. They show bone tissue surrounding teeth and can help diagnose a dental abscess or periodontal gum disease.

Typically, dentists in San Pablo, CA, use periapical x-rays to see if a tooth is impacted, if an infection has spread to the nerve of a tooth, or to plan a root canal. They can also identify fractures of the teeth and bone, cysts, tumors, and more.

  1. Occlusal

During a dental checkup, your dentist will usually use at least one type of dental x-ray. This allows your dentist to view areas that are hard to detect so that they can take care of problems faster and more effectively.

Occlusal x-rays show the floor and roof of your mouth, showing extra teeth, teeth that have not broken through the gums yet, jaw fractures, cysts, abscesses, and growths.

  1. Panoramic

A panoramic x-ray requires a special machine to capture all the teeth and jaws in one shot. It is used to plan treatment for dental implants, check impacted wisdom teeth, and detect jaw problems.

It can also help diagnose tumors, cysts, and bone abnormalities. It is also good for measuring bone strength before dental implant placement and difficult extractions.

  1. Cephalometric

Cephalometric is a special type of x-ray that shows a side view of your head, exposing your teeth and jawbone. It’s used to help dentists evaluate dental problems often missed by visual inspection.

It’s also useful for orthodontic treatment planning, as it helps orthodontists to see how your bite works and develop the right plan for you.

  1. CBCT

CBCT uses 3D imaging to provide a more detailed view of your teeth, jaws, and surrounding bone. It cuts radiation exposure more drastically than many other CT (extraoral) scanners and provides faster answers in a non-invasive way.

Can One Get Dental X-Rays During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is exciting but also a difficult time for many women to maintain their health. During this period, most women compromise with their oral care and neglect dental work.

Though some x-rays are considered safe during this period, others must be postponed until the baby is born.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit iSmile San Pablo for more information about x-rays and what you can expect during and after the procedure.

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