A lain man who hears the word dental x-ray would assume that the dental clinic practitioners are going extra. This is major because most people are quite naive about the use and importance of dental x-rays. Dental x-rays give insights to most things we don’t see on the outside. Let’s paint a beautiful scenario of an embedded structure; the foundation of a house. You don’t get to see it but it is the very strength of any Magnifique building. So is dental x rays, they reveal the part of your tooth that is not exposed.  

Dental X-ray: What are They?

Thin film, they are images of your teeth that are often used to evaluate and map out a dental procedure. Don’t be scared, these x-rays are used with low-level radiation and have not proven to be harmful. Just like the normal x-rays, dental x-rays capture the interior of the teeth and gums. Most cases where dental x-rays have proven efficiency include cavity check, a dental implant procedure, a case of an impacted tooth, tooth decay, and a few other dental procedures. A dental x-ray may sound like a big term but they are essential procedures to keep your dentist in check. 

Why are the Dental X-ray Performed? 

Aforementioned, dental x-rays are like architectural drawings to keep any dental procedure in check. The rate at which they are performed is dependent on the kind of dental issue involved. Sometimes, dental x-rays are carried out to track the progress of dental treatment. 

Despite being an important diagnosis procedure, there are certain underlying factors that can affect how often anyone can get a dental x-ray. These factors involve

  • Patient age
  • Health status 
  • Presence of symptoms of oral disease 
  • The present condition of the gums.

On most occasions, a first-time patient is often required to have a dental x-ray in order for the dentist to get a clear picture of his/her dental health. This is quite a necessity especially if there are no previous records of dental x-rays.

Are there any risks involved with dental x-rays? 

The exposure to radiation is quite low. Taking a dental x-ray procedure is safe for both adults and children. In cases where your dentist uses a digital x-ray then, your risks from radiation exposure are quite minimal. 

During the procedure, your dentist would place an apron-like material that would cover your chest, abdomen, and pelvic region. This apron like material is known as a bib. In rare cases, a thyroid collar may also be used. Adults and children are also required to wear a lead bib. 

Despite being a crucial process, pregnant women are required to stay off dental x-rays. We advise that you communicate effectively with your dentist. This is because radiation affects the developmental stage of a fetus. 

What am I supposed to do before a dental x-ray procedure?

Dental x-ray procedures don’t need extra preparations. All you need is an open mind, brushing teeth, and a flossed one. With basic oral hygiene procedures in check, it would prompt a more hygienic environment for your x-ray. You would be required to sit on a chair wearing a lead vest and the dental x-ray machine is then positioned alongside your head to record images of your mouth. 

Types of dental x-rays

There are several types of dental X-rays, which record slightly different views of your mouth. The most common are intraoral X-rays, such as:

  • Bitewing. This technique involves biting down on a special piece of paper so that your dentist can see how well the crowns of your teeth match up. This is commonly used to check for cavities between teeth (interdental).
  • Occlusal. This X-ray is done when your jaw is closed to see how your upper and bottom teeth line up. It can also detect anatomical abnormalities with the floor of the mouth or the palate.
  • Occlusal. This technique captures all of your teeth in one shot.
  • Panoramic. For this type of X-ray, the machine rotates around the head. Your dentist may use this technique to check your wisdom teeth, plan for implanted dental devices, or investigate jaw problems.
  • Periapical. This technique focuses on two complete teeth from root to crown.

ExtraoralX-rays may be used when your dentist suspects there might be problems in areas outside of the gums and teeth, such as the jaw.

A dental hygienist will guide you through each step of the X-ray process. They might step outside of the room briefly while the images are being taken. You’ll be instructed to hold still while the pictures are recorded. Spacers (film holders), if they’re used, will be moved and adjusted in your mouth to obtain the proper images.