There’s a lot going on in your mouth that is not visible to the naked eye, and dental X-rays provide your dentist with a comprehensive assessment of the health of your mouth.
No visible signs of trouble?
Tooth decay can be sneaky – it doesn’t tend to show physical signs of its presence early on. X-rays are an important diagnostic tool that allows your dentist to confirm if you have tooth decay, or if you have any problems such as infection around the roots of the tooth, or bone loss. Spotting it early means your dentist can deal with the problem before it becomes a significant issue.
The amount of radiation involved is extremely low, and is equivalent to the exposure you’d receive on a 1-2 hour flight.
That thing about your dentist leaving the room while the X-rays are taken?
They’re taking lots of X-rays all day long and stepping out of the room limits their ongoing exposure to radiation.
Why X-rays are needed
The types of X-rays your dentist will take will depend on the conditions they are assessing you for, and will be influenced by your past and present oral health, an examination of your mouth, your age, risk of disease and any early symptoms of oral disease.
What can dental X-rays detect?
- Small areas of decay between teeth not visible in the mouth
- Problems with existing fillings, root canals, crowns or bridges
- The presence and severity of gum disease
- Abscesses or infections
- Tooth development issues such as malformed teeth, extra or missing teeth etc.
- Cysts and some types of tumours
- Traumatic injuries such as tooth and bone fracturesProximity of teeth to nerves and sinusesThe development of wisdom teeth and if there is a need for them to be removed
If an X-ray uncovers decay, your dentist will likely sort out a filling to restore the damage.