Most people don’t get very excited about dental x-rays or the possibilities of having to go into a procedure that many people don’t know much about. Depending on your dentist and preferences, you will have dental x-rays taken infrequently to monitor the health of your teeth and the story hiding beneath your gums.
What Are Dental X-rays? 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, roots, jawline, and facial structure. They can also analyze your bite patterns using these x-rays. 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. you may be asked to repeat this process several times in different positions. You will also be asked to wear a protective apron to prevent unwanted radiation from entering the body. Dental x-rays scan for:
- Tooth decay, or cavities, in between teeth
- Infections in the bones of your mouth
- Symptoms of gum 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 (mostly for children)
- The location of an impacted or unerupted tooth (a tooth stuck in your gum tissue or bone)
- Bring a copy of previous X-rays to your new dentist to avoid having unnecessary, repeated x-rays.
- Ask that a lead apron or other protective shield be used when you are getting an x-ray.