Dental radiographs (X-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without X-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental X-rays may reveal:
Abscesses or cysts.
Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
Decay between the teeth.
Poor tooth and root positions.
Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental X-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of X-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
Dental X-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental X-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast film that cuts down the exposure time of each X-ray.
How often should dental X-rays be taken?
The need for dental X-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.
A full mouth series of dental X-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing X-rays (X-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
Advanced Technology for a Better Exam
Our office embraces advances in dental technology that allow us to create a better experience for our patients. We use digital x-rays to achieve a full picture of your mouth, which is clearer and faster than traditional x-rays. Digital x-rays also use significantly less radiation than standard x-rays.
We also use an intra-oral camera during your dental exam. The camera projects a clear image of your mouth onto a large screen. This not only helps the dentist see hard-to-reach areas, but also allows you to see what the dentist sees, so you have a better understanding of your health and why we recommend certain treatments.
Understanding Cone Beam Technology
At Houstonian Dental our team is committed to providing comprehensive dental care in an environment that is both safe and comfortable for patients. To achieve this, we keep up to date with beneficial technologies, including the use of cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scanners.
This scanner is akin to traditional x-rays, though it allows for a more detailed and dynamic view of the treatment site. While traditional bite-wing x-rays create a single 2D image of your teeth, CBCT scanners take 200 or more images and use a program to assemble them into a three-dimensional model.
The Uses of CBCT Technology
Other surgical procedures and diagnoses can be performed using this scanner, helping to increase overall efficiency, and allowing practices like ours to provide patients with greater comfort and confidence in their treatment plans. The other uses for these scanners include:
- Diagnosing TMJ
- Planning Reconstructive Surgery
- Evaluating the Jawbone and Sinus
- Planning for the Removal of Impacted Teeth
These scans are commonly used to create treatment plans for patients in need of implant placement. Referred to as guided implant placement, this procedure supports predictable results and allows an oral surgeon to walk patients through the details of the procedure with an interactive model.