When visiting your dentist you’ve probably noticed that you are frequently given dental x-rays, imaging of your teeth done to show the internal structure of your jaw and teeth. Many times patients wonder why a dental x-ray is necessary when their teeth otherwise appear in perfect health. The reason behind these images is to reveal what’s going on where the dentist can’t see with the naked eye through an examination. Continuing advancements in dental technology have led to these procedures requiring minuscule amounts of radiation, rendering them safer than ever.
The Advancement Of Dental Imaging Technique
Throughout the time that x-rays have been being used to diagnose and examine the structure of the jaw and teeth in dentistry the amount of radiation being used has been far below any dangerous levels. Even repeated exposure to dental x-rays results in far less radiation than you experience merely walking to your car each day. In spite of this the field of dental radiology has continued to advance, and the newest generation of dental imaging, known as digital imaging, uses an almost non-existent level of radiation to produce results superior to those produced with traditional x-rays.
How Do I Benefit From Dental X-Rays?
X-Rays can reveal conditions that exist beneath the gumline and within the bones of the jaw itself. The images produced give the dentist an unfettered view of the hidden topography of your jaw, giving them a greater insight into the complete picture of your dental health.
- Hidden Tooth Decay – When plaque and bacteria get beneath the gumline or in the narrow crevices between the teeth, decay can be taking place that isn’t visible during an examination. X-rays will reveal these images.
- Loss Of Bone – Decay can affect the bones as well, especially in cases of advanced gum disease. The degradation of the bone will be clearly visible on an x-ray.
- Hidden Abscesses – Infections deep in the gums or at the roots of our teeth is often hidden, but can lead to serious health concerns. X-rays will reveal these hidden pockets of infection, allowing your dentist to treat them with surgery or antibiotics.
- Cancerous Tumors – Oral cancer is a quickly spreading and potentially deadly disease, but it’s easily treated if found early enough. X-rays will reveal these abnormal growths and allow for potentially life-saving procedures.
- Root Canals That Are Damaged Or Infected: Depending on how the infection began damage to the root canals can be hidden from the naked eye, but not from x-rays.
All of the above conditions can begin in unseen locations, revealing themselves only when the damage has become severe enough to cause dental pain. All of these are reasons that dental x-rays are a necessary part of a routine exam.
Dental imaging is already incredibly safe, and innovations in the technology permit the dentist to see more and more with each passing year. The present level of technology already allows the dentist to produce 3d images of your jaw and teeth permitting them to rotate the image and identify concerns from many angles.