When to Get Dental X Ray

Dental radiographs, commonly referred to as X-ray films, or informally, X-rays, are pictures of the teeth, bones, and surrounding A radiographic image is formed by a controlled burst of X-ray radiation which penetrates oral structures at different levels, depending on varying anatomical densities, before striking the film or sensor. Teeth appear lighter because less radiation penetrates them to reach the film. Dental caries, infections and other changes in the bone density, and the periodontal ligament, appear darker because X-rays readily penetrate these less dense structures. Dental restorations (fillings, crowns) may appear lighter or darker, depending on the density of the material.

The dosage of dental X-ray radiation received by a dental patient is typically small (around 0.005 mSv), equivalent to a few days' worth of background environmental radiation exposure, or similar to the dose received during a cross-country airplane flight (concentrated into one short burst aimed at a small area). Incidental exposure is further reduced by the use of a lead shield, lead apron, sometimes with a lead thyroid collar. Technician exposure is reduced by stepping out of the room, or behind adequate shielding material, when the X-ray source is activated.
X-rays help your dentist visualize diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissue that cannot be seen with a simple oral examination. In addition, X-rays help your dentist find and treat dental problems early in their development, which can potentially save you money, unnecessary discomfort, and maybe even save your life.
What Types of Problems Can Dental X Ray Detect?
In adults, X-ray films can be used to:
Show areas of decay that may not be visible with an oral examination, especially small areas of decay between teeth
Identify decay occurring beneath an existing filling
Reveal bone loss that accompanies gum disease
Reveal changes in the bone or in the root canal resulting from infection
Assist in the preparation of tooth implants, braces, dentures, or other dental procedures
Reveal abscesses (an infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth)
Reveal other developmental abnormalities, such as cysts and some types of tumors
In children, dental X-ray films are used to:
Watch for decay
Determine if there is enough space in the mouth to fit all incoming teeth
Determine if primary teeth are being lost quickly enough to allow permanent teeth to erupt properly
Check for the development of wisdom teeth and identify if the teeth are impacted (unable to emerge through the gums)

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