Dental X-rays, also known as radiographs, are pictures of your teeth. They are used for your dentist to get a better understanding of your teeth and mouth. Your dentists may use X-rays to get a closer look at the inner side of your teeth and gums.
Think about dental x-rays as a way for your dentist to see all those small and hard-to-see areas. Another great thing about x-rays is that they help catch issues early on before they can get complicated or painful. Since it can show details inside of your bones and teeth, it can catch a decaying tooth in the early stages, before it starts breaking down your pulp, or give us a glimpse at the nerves that could be causing you pain or discomfort. It’s best to catch tooth decay at the early stages before it becomes a more serious issue link a dead tooth.
Are dental x-rays safe?
Many people have concerns about x-rays because it involves radiation, but there is no reason to worry since the radiation levels are very low. There is also protective gear that will be provided by your x-ray technician, or dentist. X-rays are safe for children and adults, but if you aren’t a fan of a traditional x-ray, some dentists now have digital x-rays too!
Precautions your dentist will take to keep you safe
Even though you are safe from radiation, here are some of the precautions your dentist will take to ensure maximum safety.
- A lead “bib” that’s placed over your chest, abdomen, and pelvic region to prevent any unnecessary radiation exposure to your vital organs.
- A thyroid collar may be used in the case of thyroid conditions.
Women who are pregnant are supposed to avoid all types of X-rays because the radiation could be harmful to developing your fetus.
Why are dental X-rays needed?
X-rays help your dentist see things they could never see with the naked eye. They can see things like the condition of your teeth, your roots, and even your jaw and facial bone condition. An x-ray is also a great tool for catching problems early and preventing issues you may be more susceptible to.
Here are some of the helpful things an x-ray can help to discover:
- Tooth decay (This is great for tiny areas of your mouth that can’t be seen as well)
- Position of teeth (this helps your dentist with tooth implants, braces, and dentures )
- Loss of bone in the jaw
- Changes in the bone from infection.
- Abscesses (an infection in the tooth root or in between the gum and a tooth).
- Catching tumors early on
It is pretty standard to get an X-ray at the beginning of your dental appointment. As mentioned, it’s very safe and there is little to no reason to worry. The radiation exposure levels are extremely low and you get a protective lead bib to cover you and all your vital organs. Plus it only takes a few seconds and a few angles and your dentist will have a detailed up-close picture of what’s happening around and inside your teeth! From there they can find everything to keep you and your smile healthy!