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Know the Importance of X-Rays

It is important to keep you mouth and teeth healthy. Depending on your oral health history and your dentist’s preferences, you will probably need to have dental x-rays taken from time to time. Dental x-rays allow your dentist to more closely monitor the health of your teeth and gums, so that changes and problems can be detected early, when treatment is most effective.

Know what Dental X-Rays are

Dental X-rays are special images that allow your dentist to get a closer look at some of the structures inside your mouth, including your teeth, the roots of your teeth, your bite, and your facial bones. The process involves placing an X-ray film in a piece of cardboard or plastic, which your dentist will ask you to bite down on to hold the film against the area he or she wants the X-ray to capture. Depending on how many angles or areas of your mouth your dentist wants to see on X-ray, this may be repeated several times. While the X-ray pictures are being captured, you will wear a protective apron to shield your body from the X-ray machine’s radiation.

Your dentist may use dental X-rays to look for:

  • Tooth decay, also called cavities or caries, between your teeth or under your fillings

  • Infections in the bones of your mouth

  • Symptoms of gum (periodontal) disease

  • An abscess, cyst, or tumor in your mouth

  • Changes in your teeth or bones

  • Problems with the ligaments that hold your teeth in place

  • Dental developmental problems (in children)

  • The location of an impacted tooth (a tooth stuck in your gum tissue or bone)

Getting an X-Ray

If you are seeing a particular dentist for the first time, there is a good chance that he or she will want to take a set of dental X-rays, unless you can provide the dentist with copies of recent X-rays. Your dentist will use these initial X-rays to evaluate your oral health, look for gum disease, and have a basis for future comparisons. Your dentist will then determine how often you need follow-up X-rays to monitor for changes in the health of your gums and teeth. The interval at which you receive follow-up dental X-rays will depend on your age, overall oral health, and risk of having dental problems in the future. If you start to have issues or pain in your mouth, having an X-ray done can help determine where the issue is. X-rays are able to look between the teeth, as well as below the gums. This way we will notice if any issue might be starting to form. Having this fixed right away can help prevent a larger problem that would include more pain or a costly bill. Also make sure to contact us if you need recommendations on what toothbrush or toothpaste to use. Remember to floss at least once a day as well. This will help to keep your teeth in the best condition possible between regular examinations that you have.

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