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Dental X-rays Explained: Why Do We Need Them? How Are They Done?

Dental X-rays Explained: Why Do We Need Them? How Are They Done?

Your oral health and well-being is our top priority at Canyon Dental. We often get asked, “Why do dentists take X-rays?”  Dental x-rays – or radiographs – provide detailed insight to the status of your teeth and gums.  Resolving problems sooner can prevent the need for more invasive and costly treatments later.

Common dental X-rays include:

  • Bitewing X-rays – These radiographs are used to mainly detail the back teeth.  These show us whether there are any cavities on any teeth, fillings, crowns or bridges.  Furthermore, gum disease – characterized by bone loss – can also be seen in these x-rays.  These are generally taken during a recare/ recall appointment (every 12 months.)
  • Periapical X-rays – These radiographs capture the entire tooth from crown to root and the supporting bone.  These are used to show root problems, such as abscesses, and bone problems such as gum disease.   These are generally taken when a patient is experiencing pain or is about to have a major work done on a tooth.
  • Panoramic X-rays – These radiographs provide a broad view of the teeth, sinuses, jaw, temporomandibular joints and nasal areas.  Panoramic radiographs can show issues impacted teeth, missing/ extra teeth, nerves, cysts, solid tumour growths, and bone abnormalities.  These are taken when a patient is referred to an orthodontist or oral surgeon, or every three years

At Canyon Dental, we use digital radiographs.  These x-rays use significantly less radiation than conventional film radiographs.  One bitewing x-ray taken at your check-up only exposes you to as much radiation as you would otherwise receive in HALF a day.

Why Do Dentists Take Dental X-rays?

Maintenance:  Did you know that many cavities start in between teeth or close to the gums? Yearly bitewing radiographs are integral in ensuring there are no caries between teeth and that the condition of previous work is not in need of repair or replacement. Catching them early and removing the diseased tissue within a cavity is a great way to proactively maintain your healthy smile. Cavities, or caries as they are more accurately called, can spread to other teeth.  These radiographs also assist in tracking the health of your gums and the supporting structure (bone) of your teeth.

Pain:  Pain, excessive sensitivity or discomfort, and/ or swelling of the gums or face is a great reason to take a radiograph. Often, it is difficult to pinpoint the source of the problem, and an image – in conjunction with a clinical examination – can reveal the precise culprit.

Late or missing wisdom teeth and orthodontist referrals:  While a child is developing, there may be a delayed or extra tooth. Radiographs can confirm whether a tooth is missing or is in excess. It reveals a tooth’s position and gives us clues to potential ramifications to the remaining dentition. In some cases, it may be wise for a dentist to refer to an orthodontist to compose a treatment plan for the developing dentition.

Between the ages of 16 and 24, radiographs give us vital information to the development of wisdom teeth. In many cases, these “extra” teeth need to be extracted because there is not enough room in the mouth for them to come up. If not extracted, this can give rise to gum inflammation, cavity and infection. Click here to learn more about wisdom teeth.


Teeth X-rays

Dental X-rays provide a host of important facts to determine your best treatment options. If you are unsure as to why dental X-rays have been requested, never hesitate to ask us! We will be happy to explain and review them with you! Our team enjoys educating our clients every step of the way.

Book Your Dental Checkup At Canyon Dental Today!

Even though our dental X-rays offer minimal radiation, we take safety precautions including the use of lead aprons to keep you and your family safe. We don’t unnecessarily request dental X-rays and are happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Contact our professional and friendly team at Canyon Dental today to keep your smile healthy and radiant! We look forward to seeing you.