The Importance of Dental X-rays:


Dental X-rays provide a view into the areas of your mouth that are not visible to the naked eye. They enable your dentist to see what’s happening beneath the surface, which allows for a proper assessment of your oral condition. Whilst your teeth and gums may appear healthy, a dental X-ray can help identify hidden problems before they develop any further.

Why X-rays are needed

Tooth decay can be sneaky- it doesn’t tend to show physical signs of its presence early on. This is especially true in the areas between your teeth which are already difficult to assess visually and are one of the most common areas that tooth decay develops. Dental X-rays can also detect other problems such as infection around the roots of the teeth or bone loss. Spotting these issues early means that your dentist can deal with the problem before it becomes more significant.

There are a number of different types of dental X-rays are your dentist will determine which is needed depending on the conditions for which you are being assessed. For example, the X-ray taken to assess for decay between the teeth is a different type of X-ray to the one taken to assess your wisdom teeth.

What can dental X-rays detect?

  • Areas of tooth decay that may not be visible in the mouth
  • Problems with existing fillings, root canals, crowns, or bridges
  • The presence and severity of gum disease
  • The development of wisdom teeth and if there is a need for removal
  • Dental abscesses, infections, cysts, and some types of tumors
  • Tooth development issues such as the delayed eruption of teeth, malformed teeth, extra or missing teeth, impacted or mispositioned teeth
  • Traumatic injuries such as tooth and bone fractures
  • The proximity of teeth to important structures such as nerves and sinuses
  • Assist in the planning and preparation of tooth implants, braces, dentures, root canals, crowns, and bridges

How often should I have X-rays taken?

This is very much different for everyone. Your dentist will determine whether or not an X-ray is needed based on your current dental condition, your history, your age, your risk of disease, and presenting signs and symptoms.

Can I have my dental X-rays transferred?

It is always helpful to have your previous dental records, including any dental X-rays, forwarded to your current dental practice. In some instances, your dentist may ask for copies of any previous X-rays. This can be done relatively easily and will require you to sign a release of records form at your current practice. The X-rays will then be forwarded from your previous dentist to your current dentist.

Are X-rays dangerous?

Regardless of whether you are a child or an adult, you can have dental X-rays safely taken of the inside and outside of your mouth. Dental X-rays involve an extremely low dose of radiation, comparable to the amount of radiation exposure that you would receive on a short (1-2 hour) plane ride. Your dentist will carefully weigh up the need for the X-ray and the risk of undetected disease if the X-ray is not taken.

This means that X-rays are safe during pregnancy and are very much essential to manage any significant dental disease, infections or trauma. It is however very important to inform your dentist that you are pregnant, as they are generally kept to a minimum during this period.

Why does my dentist leave the room when taking an X-ray?

Nothing to worry about here- dentists take many X-rays all day long, so stepping outside the room simply limits their ongoing exposure to radiation.

If you have any further concerns about dental X-rays, be sure to speak to your local shepparton dentist!

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