Dental X-rays, also known as radiographs, are images of your mouth taken by your dentist in order to evaluate your oral health. X-rays assist dentists in seeing issues that aren’t visible to the naked eye.
Today, your dedicated McAllen dentists at WhiteWing Dental will provide information about dental X-rays and whether they’re safe when used during checkups.
Why Are Dental X-Rays Important?
Dental X-rays are typically performed by your dentist on a yearly basis in order to help identify oral health problems without having to make an incision. X-rays can uncover serious oral health issues, including:
- Decay beneath fillings
- Cysts and other types of tumors
- Bone loss in the jaw
- Impacted teeth
- Changes in the root canal
Although X-rays can be refused during a dental visit, they are especially beneficial as they help your dentist find and treat dental problems before they cause a negative impact on your oral health.
What Are the Different Types of Dental X-rays?
There are several different types of dental X-rays, with periapical, bitewing, and panoramic being the most commonly used:
- Periapical X-Rays
Periapical X-rays give your dentist a detailed view of your teeth, from crown to below the root. Periapical X-rays show all the teeth on either the upper or lower jaw. These X-rays help dentists find impacted teeth, tooth fractures, abscesses, tumors, and changes in bone structure.
- Bitewing X-Rays
Bitewing X-rays allow your dentist to look at one specific part of your mouth. Bitewing X-rays specifically display the teeth above the gum line and the height of the bone in between teeth. These X-rays can help diagnose gum disease and cavities between teeth. For those with frequent cavities, bitewing X-rays may be needed more often.
- Panoramic X-rays
A panoramic X-ray is used to show the entire mouth in a single image. The X-ray is taken outside the mouth and is useful in identifying issues like cysts, jaw disorders, and bone irregularities. Unlike other dental X-rays, a panoramic X-ray covers a wider area of the mouth.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dental X-rays are perfectly safe. During a routine X-ray, you are exposed to very low levels of radiation.
For safety precautions, your dentist will generally use a lead apron and/or a thyroid collar to protect the abdomen and the thyroid from any radiation exposure. Federal laws also require that accuracy and safety checks be done on X-ray machines. X-Ray Risk states that dental X-rays emit the lowest radiation dose of all X-rays, and in your routine dental visit when four bitewing X-rays are done, you are exposed to less radiation than you would be on a typical day.
Don’t wait to have your teeth seen, visit WhiteWing Dental to ensure your smile stays fresh and clean.
During your next dental visit at WhiteWing Dental, there’s no need to worry if the dental X-rays are safe. You can count on our team to make your oral health our top priority.