Aesthetic Dental of Barbados

What You Need to Know About Dental X-rays

What You Need to Know About Dental X-rays

What are Dental X-Rays?

Dental x-rays are pictures that are taken of the teeth, bones and soft tissue surrounding them so as to determine if there are any problems prevalent within the mouth, teeth or jaw. X-ray pictures are able to identify any oral conditions/disorders/diseases that normally wouldn’t have been seen during a visual examination. In addition, x-rays are sometimes used during follow-ups after dental treatments are undertaken.

What are the Different Types of X-Rays?

There are approximately 4 different types of dental X-rays that are usually utilized. These X-Rays include:

  • Periapical X-Rays:- These x-rays display the entire tooth. By revealing the exposed crown of the tooth to the end of the root and the bones that help support the tooth the dentist is able to discover and dental problems below the gum line or in the jaw.
  • Bitewing X-Rays:- These x-rays display the lower and upper back teeth and how the teeth touch each other in a single view. The purpose of such x-rays is to determine if there is any decay between teeth and to see the alignment of the teeth.
  • Panoramic X-Rays:- These x-rays display a broad view of the teeth, jaws, nasal area and the joints of the jaw. The purposes of these x-rays are to identify any conditions such as bone abnormalities, cysts and tumors, infections, growths or fractures. (These x-rays do not discern cavities).
  • Occlusal X-Rays:- These x-rays show the roof and floor of the mouth. They are used to discover any extra teeth, growths, cysts, jaw fractures. You can also use them to detect any foreign objects in that particular area of the mouth.

How often are you required to get X-Rays?

How often you are required to get X-rays of your teeth and/or mouth is dependent on your current medical and dental condition. Persons with any dental or gum diseases might be required to get X-rays as often as every 6 months; whereas, persons who visit their dentist often and have no current dental problems might only need X-rays done every couple years. As a new patient, though, your dentist should take X-rays as part of your initial exam so as to start and track any dental changes over time.

What will you need to do to prepare for X-Ray?

There is no real preparation that is needed prior to having an X-Ray done. In the case of pregnant women or women who might be pregnant, you will need to let the dentist know this. Even though the X-Ray is only done on the mouth area, it may still be postponed so that there is no radiation to the fetus. In serious cases where the X-Ray cannot be postponed, a lead apron will be placed over the pregnant woman’s stomach so as to protect the baby from the X-Rays.

What are the risks associated with X-Rays?

It is no secret that radiation is associated with X-Rays. But such radiation is very low especially when one takes into consideration the potential advantages of getting the X-Rays done in the first instance.

As was mentioned above, pregnant or potentially pregnant women might choose to avoid having any X-Rays done until they have given birth so that no harm is done to the developing fetus. Though many dentists might also suggest this to their pregnant clients, there has been no scientific evidence provided that confirms such dental X-Rays can indeed harm a developing baby.