Dental x-rays are typically not a fun experience. Most of the time its more discomfort than pain, but, its often a long process. Very seldom do you ever see the x-rays, so, it may make you wonder… why do I need them?
Dental x-rays actually communicate a ton of information to a doctor or dentist who knows what they are looking at (and for).
More Than Teeth
A dental x-ray actually examines the teeth, soft tissues (gums), and bones to give the dentist a full picture. A dentist can look at the x-rays and pin point where a single tooth is creating a problem for the entire mouth! Additionally, it is impossible to see some cavities forming with the naked eye, and the x-ray can tell a dentist when a cavity is forming in an impossible to see place – such as between teeth.
Dental x-ray and imaging can also show spots of cancer or tumors in the mouth that are also not visible to the eye. It is highly valuable to get your x-rays done once a year for this reason alone – ensuring that any cancer forming cells are caught early on.
About the Teeth
Some of the major reasons that a dentist needs to perform an x-ray on your teeth include looking for:
- Difficult to find or see cavities
- Tooth decay
- Bone loss
- Oral cancer
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Root infection
Ultimately, anything that can be going on inside a tooth or inside the gums (soft tissues) will be quickly and accurately registered on a dental x-ray. It helps with early intervention and treatment.
Are X-Rays Safe?
Some worry about x-rays because of the radiation put off by the equipment during the process of an x-ray being taken. However, in most cases, the equipment is designed to produce as little as radiation necessary to get the image.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends wearing a leaded apron for your protection and minimize radiation exposure – which is the heavy cloth you may be accustomed to having draped over you. If you are still concerned, be sure to ask your Methuen, MA dentist if there is anything else you can do to minimize your exposure to radiation during x-rays.