What are Dental X-Rays?
Dental X-Rays are X-Rays used by dentists to examine your mouth and teeth. These X-Rays can be used to check for cavities, bone loss, and tissue masses, cysts, or tumors, as well as to examine the jaw and jaw joints. X-Rays can also be used to examine new teeth (in children, or wisdom teeth) and tooth damage that cannot be seen just by looking in the mouth. Dental X-Rays are generally useful for monitoring the state of your oral health, and are good at detecting oral health issues early before they become major problems.
What are the different types of Dental X-Rays?
There are several different types of Dental X-Rays, each of which focus on different parts of the mouth.
Periapical X-Rays focus on showing an entire tooth, including the tip of the root and the surrounding bone structure.
Panoramic X-Rays give a quick overview of the whole mouth, including the jaw and nasal area, but are not as detailed as other types.
Occlusal X-Rays are used to view either the floor or roof of the mouth.
Bitewings are a type of X-Ray that show the tops of the upper and lower back teeth and how they fit together. They reveal cavities between the teeth and bone level around the back teeth.
Are Dental X-Rays safe?
Dental X-Rays use only a tiny amount of radiation, measured at 0.15 milliSieverts for a full set of X-rays. This is less radiation than is received on an average cross-country airplane flight, and about 100 times less than is received during a CT scan. In addition, Dental X-Rays are subject to rigorous safety standards and inspections, and patients are given lead sheeting in order to minimize radiation exposure to areas outside of the mouth.
Digital X-Rays -We started using digital radiography in our office primarily because it requires significantly less radiation.
How often should I have Dental X-Rays?
On average, an adult patient should receive bitewing X-Rays every 1 to 3 years. However, this frequency is based on a variety of factors. Younger children and teens need bitewings more frequently; children should receive bitewings every 1 to 2 years, and teens every 1 to 3 years. Adults with a history of tooth decay are at higher risk of continued tooth decay, and so should also receive bitewings more frequently, with the exact frequency to be determined by your dentist. Although there is no evidence that dental X-Rays can affect fetuses, it is generally recommended that pregnant women should delay getting X-Rays until after delivery.