Your dentist in Harris County uses a number of high-tech tools to provide you with the very best dental care possible. Perhaps the most important of these devices is the x-ray machine. It allows dental professionals to see what’s going on inside your teeth and gums, catching early problems before they become serious conditions.
What Are the Types of Dental X-Rays?
The most common type of dental x-ray is known as an intraoral radiograph, which includes four specific types of images:
- A periapical x-ray. This technique is often used to determine if the patient needs a root canal.
- A bite wing x-ray. This is used to create an image of the posterior teeth (those that are furthest away from the mouth). It’s especially helpful for diagnosing crown -related problems.
- Occlusal x-ray. This is most commonly used to diagnose problems with underbite or overbite, especially those which may require braces.
- Full mouth x-rays. This term refers to a series of x-rays which together give the dentist a clear picture of your overall oral health.
Another type of dental x-ray is called an extraoral radiograph. This technology is especially helpful for diagnosing problems related to the jaw or facial bones. It’s also useful for treating impacted teeth.
What Are Computed Tomography (CT) X-Rays?
This is a special type of x-ray that helps dentists to perform implants and other forms of dental restoration. This method is also helpful in treating sinus -related problems. A CT x-ray provides a three-dimensional image of the patient’s teeth as well as his or her nerve pathways and soft tissues. This process is also referred to as “cone beam x-rays.”
Are X-Rays Dangerous?
Dental x-ray machines use minute amounts of radiation, less than you might receive from the sun during a day at the beach. There’s no need to worry about a properly performed x-ray making you ill.
Let the dentist know if you are or think you might be pregnant. He or she may ask you to wear either a leaded apron or a device called a leaded thyroid collar during the procedure.
X-rays require no special preparation on the patient’s part. It’s a good idea to wear loose, comfortable clothing and remove your jewelry prior to the procedure.
Do you wear glasses, hearing aids or dentures? If so, then you may need to remove them during the x-ray. The technician will let you know if this is the case.
How often your dentist prescribes x-rays depends on many factors, including your medical history and the state of your oral health. In most cases, the frequency ranges from every six months to once a year. Additional x-rays may be required if you need implants, root canals, bridges or other special procedures.
Modern dental technology is an amazing thing. It enables all of us to enjoy better oral health than at any time in the past. That’s something to think about the next time you’re counting your blessings. We wish you and your loved ones lots of happy smiles in the months and years to come.
About the Author
Dr. Rowland earned her DDS degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham after graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in microbiology. She’s a proud member of the ADA and the Georgia Dental Association (GDA). You can reach her office online or by calling (706) 628-0011.