The Role of X-Rays in Dental Diagnostics: Safety and Necessity

  • May 7 2024

Advances in dental technology allow your dentist to more accurately assess issues and provide more effective care than ever before. One significant piece of dental technology is the X-ray machine. While they’ve been around for years, the dental X-ray machine’s capabilities have only become more advanced as the technology has evolved.   

If you should require an X-ray the next time you visit your dentist, you may be wondering what they’re used for and how they work. You can get a better idea of the answers to those questions by taking a look at this quick guide to this crucial dental tool.

What are dental X-rays?

Taking dental X-rays is a way of capturing images of the various aspects of your teeth, mouth, and jaw structure that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Your dentist uses them to get a glimpse at the bigger picture of your oral health so they can better assess any issues you may be dealing with.

When might your dentist use dental X-rays?

Some oral health issues can easily be detected with a routine examination, but others are more difficult to spot with the naked eye. Here are a few examples of what your dentist might use an X-ray to look for.

Tooth Decay

Cavities on the surface of the tooth are typically easy to identify, but there are times when decay exists between the teeth or underneath an existing filling that can only be spotted with the help of an X-ray.

Infection and Abscesses

A dental abscess is the formation of pus in teeth, gum, or bone caused by a bacterial infection. If an abscess is allowed to develop enough, it can be observed without the help of an X-ray, but there are times when your dentist may need a closer view of your mouth in order to identify one and plan treatment.

Positioning of the Teeth

X-rays can be utilized when assessing the positioning of teeth that have not ruptured or wisdom teeth that are impacted. They can also be utilized in the planning of orthodontic treatment.

Cysts and Tumors

Abnormal growths in the mouth, such as cysts and certain types of tumors, can be better viewed and more effectively treated with the help of dental X-rays.

Bone Loss

Teeth stimulate the growth of the jawbone, which means that when a tooth is lost, so is the stimulation needed to maintain bone mass. X-rays can be utilized to observe the extent of bone loss so that your dentist can determine whether you’re a good candidate for a dental implant or if a bone graft procedure may be necessary.

Some Types of Oral Cancer

A routine dental exam includes visual scanning for oral cancer. However, not all types of oral cancer can easily be spotted with this method. Your dentist can get a more accurate diagnosis by using dental X-rays to view the whole of your gums, teeth, jaw, and more.

The Safety of Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays use radiation to generate images of your mouth, which can sound a little dangerous. However, the amount of radiation they use and the length of time which you’re exposed to it are both minimal, and therefore, it’s nothing to worry about. 

If you’re still feeling uncomfortable about your dental X-rays, make sure to speak with your dentist so they can help to reassure you of their safety.

Schedule Your Appointment With Forest Hills Dentistry

If you need dental care, Dr. Payam Cohen and the team at Forest Hills Dentistry can help. Call today to schedule your appointment.

Categories: General Dentistry