Dental X-Rays De-Constructed

Dental x-rays are pictures of your teeth and bones and the soft tissues that surround them. They are an important component of your twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings. Read on to learn more about them and why they are useful.

X-rays can detect damage to your teeth and gums that is not visible to your dentist’s naked eye. They also show the structure of your facial and jaw bones, and also the condition of your teeth and their roots.  Dental x-rays can detect cavities, gum disease, abscesses, tumors, and cysts. They can also show the location of impacted teeth and teeth that have not yet developed.

How often are dental x-rays needed?

Because every mouth is unique, x-ray schedules are also unique. If you are a new patient, we typically take full-mouth x-rays to evaluate your oral health and to track it for future visits. If you are changing dentists and recently had x-rays taken, you can have them sent to us.

Is there more than one kind of dental x-ray?

  • The most common are known as “bitewings,” which require you to bite down on a piece of plastic with x-ray film in the center. They can determine the presence of decay between your teeth where decay-causing bacteria often hide.
  • Periapical x-rays image your entire tooth, including the roots, to help evaluate root structure and bone level, and to detect possible cysts and abscesses.
  • Occlusal x-rays image the roof and floor of your mouth. They are used to find teeth that have not yet broken through the gums, jaw abnormalities or fractures, and growths or cysts.
  • Panoramic X-rays show a broad view of your sinuses, nasal area, teeth, and temporomandibular (TMJ) They typically indicate impacted teeth, bone abnormalities, tumors, infections, and fractures.

We prescribe x-rays when they are appropriate, taking into consideration your individual needs and dental conditions. The care of your teeth should be important to you  – it is very important to us: (561) 627-9000.

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