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All you want to know about Dental X-rays?

All you want to know about Dental X-rays?

Dental X-rays are an essential part of diagnosing dental problems and are important to maintaining overall dental health. They use radiation to allow the dentist to capture an image of the insides of your teeth and gums.

Why are they done?

Dental x-rays are done because they allow for a more effective diagnosis of a patient. When concerning the health of your teeth, a lot more can go on than what we see at the surface level. The comprehensive overview of your teeth deeper than just the enamel that an X-ray offers can allow your dentist to determine the magnitude of an infection or other problem. This means that they can then decide what needs to be done to treat it effectively!

X-ray’s can detect a range of dental problems such as

  • Decay between teeth
  • Problems with fillings, root canals, crowns
  • Infections
  • Development issues e.g. extra teeth
  • Cysts, tumours
  • Fractures from trauma
  • Wisdom teeth and whether they need to be removed
  • Proximity of teeth to nerves

X-rays are also done as a preventative measure. Tooth decay and infections can almost be invisible during their early stages. For example, a problem around the roots may only become known when it starts to cause pain or is a significant problem, which obviously nobody wants. Finding these problems early on an X-ray will allow your dentist to deal with it before the problem escalates.

Who should get them?

Everyone! Dental X-rays are essential as they allow your dentist to properly diagnose dental health problems.

What happens?

Dental X-rays are usually performed in the office of a dental practitioner. A heavy lead apron will be placed over you in order to protect you from radiation. A small plastic bite will then be inserted into your mouth, holding the X-ray film steady. Then the X-ray will be taken in a silent, pain free process!

Types of X-rays

There are two main types of X-rays, that being intraoral and extraoral. With intraoral x-rays the film is inside the mouth while with extraoral x-rays the film is on the outside.

A) Intraoral X-rays are more common and give a high level of detail that allows the dentist to:

  • Find cavities
  • Look at tooth roots
  • Observe developing teeth
  • Generally monitor the health of teeth

The subcategories of intraoral x-rays are:

1. Bite-wing x-rays

These focus on the crowns of the back upper and lower molars and the teeth in front of them. These x-rays help dentists find decay between the teeth.

2. Periapical X-rays

These only focus on one or two teeth at a time. They show the entire length of each tooth.

3. Occlusal X-rays

These are mainly used in children to show tooth development and placement. They show nearly the full arch of teeth in either the upper of lower jaw.

B) Extraoral radiographs are much less detailed than intraoral x-rays and are used to

-Track development

-Examine the relationship between teeth and the haw

-Examine the bones of the face

Subcategories of extraoral x-rays include:

1. Panoramic x-rays

These show the entire mouth and include all teeth on both upper and lower jaws. These x-rays require a special machine that circles the head.

2. CT

These x-rays provide three dimensional images through a machine that rotates around your head. They are useful for selecting dental implants and their placement.

How much do they cost?

The cost of dental x-rays are usually included in the general cost of a check-up. However, they cost around $90 for 2 x-rays.

How often are Dental X-rays done?

While the frequency of x-rays required varies from patient to patient based on their dental health, they are generally done at least once a year.

You may be required to undergo more frequent dental x-rays depending on these factors:

  • If you are a new patient at a dentist so that the dentist can get an overview of your current dental health
  • Your age
  • Your dental history e.g. less incidence of cavities will require less frequent x-rays
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of dental problems
  • Number of teeth present
  • The visible condition of your teeth and gums
  • The type of treatment that you are currently undergoing

Children may need more frequent x-rays as their teeth and jaws are still developing and are more likely to be affected by decay.

Are they safe?

While the fact that dental x-rays involve radiation may concern some parents and those soon-to-be, the levels of exposed radiation are so low that they are considered safe for virtually everyone. This is because current technology ensures that the X-rays are all focused towards your mouth and any unnecessary radiation is eliminated.

For pregnant women, X-rays can still be performed but be sure to tell the doctor that you are in fact pregnant. They can then fit you with a leaded apron and thyroid collar which will protect your foetus from any radiation.

For any other queries contact us at or call us on 02-99898565

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