If you have dental health problems, dentists use dental X-rays to identify the source of it. They allow dentists to get an inside view of your mouth. Although it might sound scary, they are among the most common dental procedures.
When you visit your dentist for the first time, they will commonly give you an X-ray. Other instances you might receive one include when you feel pain in your gums or teeth. Here are a few of the most common reasons people get them.
Reasons to Consider Dental X-rays
- Pain in Your Gums
- Pain in Your Teeth
- Before a Root Canal
- When You Find a Cavity
- Various Types of Gum or Dental Diseases
What Are Dental X-rays?
X-ray technology uses specific wavelengths of light. Our eyes cannot see them. However, using special technology, we can use them to see what our eyes can’t.
Medical Imaging Technology:
In the medical industry, X-rays are used as imaging technology. Commonly, dentists use them to see the bone structure of the mouth and jaw. If there are problems, they let us see them.
Useful to Find the Source of a Problem:
Suppose you have pain in your jaw. It’s pretty difficult to get a good look from the outside. In that case, a dentist will use their X-rays to get a better look. Then, they can determine how to treat you.
What Types Of Problems Can Dental X-rays See?
A wide variety of oral health issues can be found using this technology. In most instances, your dentist will use them if you have an oral health problem. Some of the most common issues found include the following.
Tooth decay accompanies infections of various kinds. When you get an infection in your mouth, it can wear down your teeth. The dentist can determine the nature of the problem by using X-rays.
Some gum infections will affect the bones of your mouth. Often, this won’t be visible from our perspective. Using X-rays, we can see the bones of the jaw. That way, dentists can check for any issues.
Gum disease is not as easy to see as you might think. If your dentist suspects this is a problem, they check using X-rays.
Other infections of the mouth are often difficult to detect. Using X-rays can allow dentists to rule out other infections.
An abscess should get attention right away. However, they are not always easy to find. If you suspect you have an abscess, consider getting a dental X-ray.
Perhaps, the most common reason people get X-rays is to track their wisdom teeth. These need to be removed a lot of the time. Medical imaging will let you know if removal is necessary.
How Do Dentists Use Dental X-rays To Guide Care?
Although they are a benign procedure, dentists do not want to use them too often. Consequently, they are rather specific with how they use them. It is a key component of creating a health plan for you.
Determine the Nature of the Issue:
When you arrive at the dentist, you do not always know why you are in pain. In such circumstances, they use these devices to find out what is wrong. Then, they can decide how to solve the problem.
Decide The Best Approach to Use:
The best approach for an oral health issue will vary. Depending on the issue and the person, each issue will get different treatment. X-ray images let the dentist figure out the best way to proceed.
Monitor Progress Following Procedures:
Even after your procedure, complications could arise. Most of the time, they will not. However, a dentist can check to ensure good outcomes by using X-rays.
How Expensive Are Dental X-rays?
One reason plenty of people avoid going to the dentist is the price tag. We tremble in fear at the thought of paying a fortune. However, in most cases, they are affordable.
Typically, you will pay less than 200$, even without insurance. On the other hand, prices will vary depending on several factors.
Prices Vary Depending on Type:
There are many different types of X-ray procedures. Some are more expensive than others. In general, you can expect to pay more as the procedures become more complicated.
Insurance Also Affects the Final Price:
Of course, whether you have insurance affects the price drastically. If you do not have insurance, you can ask your dentist about their prices. Most will have a separate pricing sheet for uninsured patients.
When Do I Need To Have Dental X-rays Taken?
There are a lot of reasons people might need to get X-rays of their mouth. In fact, most major oral health issues will require them. Since they are such an effective tool, all of the following could be reasons to consider them.
If You Feel Any Pain in Your Mouth:
Any pain in your mouth could be a sign of a serious issue. If you feel mouth pain, talk to your dentist. Chances are they will get some images to see if there is an issue.
If It Has Been a Long Time Since You Last Had Them:
Most of the time, dentists recommend you get X-rays regularly. If it has been a long time since you last had them, it might be a good idea. Ask your dentist if you should get some soon.
If You Want to Get Braces:
A lot of people decide they do not like the way their teeth look. Then, they get braces. Before you can get them, it’s important to get an X-ray. That way, any issues with your teeth will be found.
If You Suspect You Have a Cavity:
Cavities are not a fun problem to have. If you notice pain in one of your teeth, ask your dentist to check for a cavity. They can use the X-ray device to check out your tooth. Then, they will be able to tell if there is a cavity.
If You Have an Infection:
Oral infections are more common than most people think. Sometimes, you won’t even realize you have one. It is important to get X-rays regularly. That way, the dentist can discover any infections.
If You Need Dental Implants:
Are you considering dental implants? If so, you should get X-rays before you get the implants. If you don’t, the implants may not fit your mouth properly.
If You Have Jaw Problems:
Bone issues in the jaw can be caused by many things. If you have recently been having jaw pain, you need to get it looked at. You would not want to let health problems fester.
If There Are Any Other Health Concerns Your Dentist Notices:
Dentists will request X-rays if they suspect any issues with your oral health. Do not be afraid. They are just doing their job. Once you get them, they will review them with you.
Are Dental X-rays Safe?
Since radiation is harmful, can we say the same about dental X-rays? Thankfully, they are among the safest health procedures available. Despite the use of radiation, the following factors limit any danger.
Low Levels of Radiation:
Although X-ray technology relies on radiation, the amount used is relatively small. When you get other X-rays, they use much more radiation typically. The limited radiation ensures dental X-rays are safe.
Lead Bib to Protect Vital Organs:
Plus, you get to wear a protective shield. When you get dental X-rays, the dentist fits you with a bib. The bib is made out of lead. So, it shields your vital organs. Since radiation does not penetrate lead, your organs are safe.
Small Time of Exposure:
Additionally, you are not exposed to radiation for very long. The less time you spend on radiation, the less harm it poses. Dental X-rays are very fast. That way, you have nothing to worry about.
How Are Dental X-rays Different From Regular Xrays?
Generally speaking, in the medical field, two broad types of X-rays exist. One would be intraoral X-rays. These are used at the dentist. The other type would be extraoral X-ray. These are the ones performed at the hospital.
There are a few key differences between the two types. The following factors are some of the most important to consider.
Your Organs Are Protected From Exposure:
In medical imaging, your whole body is exposed. When you get dental imaging, the body is protected. For this reason, dental X-rays are considered to be less harmful to the body.
You Receive Less Radiation Overall:
The amount of energy used to perform regular X-rays is much larger. Dental X-rays are, comparatively, rather benign. That means you can expect to absorb less radiation overall.
They Are More Affordable:
Cost is another way that these two procedures vary. Medical X-rays are pretty expensive. Sometimes, they can cost thousands of dollars. On the contrary, dental X-rays are much more affordable.
Only Your Mouth and Teeth Are Seen:
Medical X-rays are used to see any part of the body. If you get in a car crash, they use them to see if anything is broken. Dental X-rays have more limited applications. Generally, they only let us see the details of your teeth and jaw.
They Detect Specific Oral Health Issues:
Medical X-rays can check on your organs and bones. Dental X-rays only let us see if there are issues with your mouth.
Types of Dental X-rays and Why They Are Used
- Bitewing Xrays: These show us the top and lower teeth in the mouth. However, you do not get to see all of the teeth at once. You must get multiple images to see the whole picture using this technique.
- Periapical X-rays: These X-rays give us a detailed image of a specific tooth. You can look at every part of the tooth, from the root to the crown.
- Occlusal X-rays: Typically, these are useful to track the development of teeth. For example, the dentist will use this to monitor your wisdom teeth.
Dental X-rays: Why You Might Need Them
Dental X-rays conjure up many different thoughts depending on the person. Overall, they are a safe procedure with many different applications. If you suspect you have an oral health problem, they help the dentist find the source.
Compared with regular X-rays, they are safer and more affordable. Therefore, you have nothing to worry about if you need to get some. It is a powerful tool your dentist can use to help.