Getting a dental X-ray helps effectively diagnose potential oral health problems. It allows dentists to monitor the health of your teeth and gums and design the right treatment plan for you. If your dentist requires you to get a dental X-ray, you may wonder how safe and useful it is, but we are here to provide answers to your questions.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about dental X-rays.
What are Dental X-Rays?
Dental X-rays in London, Ontario are special 2-D images that highlight the anatomy of the mouth (root, and structure of the teeth and gums, and facial bone). It allows dental professionals to detect any underlying dental issues. Digital and film are two types of dental X-rays.
Digital has replaced film X-ray because it has 80 percent less radiation, quicker to process, and is easier to store and archive for future use. Dental X-rays can either be taken inside your mouth (intraoral X-ray) or outside of the mouth (extraoral X-ray).
Intraoral X-rays display the fine details of the teeth and their supporting bones to allow dentists to monitor tooth development and root health; while extraoral X-rays show the larger structural bones, such as your upper and lower jaws.
Who Should Get Dental X-Ray?
If you are seeing a particular dentist for the first time, he/she may require you to take a set of X-rays to evaluate your oral health. Your dentist will determine the frequency of getting your X-ray to monitor the changes in your teeth and gum health. However, the frequency of your follow-up X-rays depends on:
- your age,
- overall oral health, and
- the risk of developing future dental health problems.
Risks Associated with Dental X-Ray
While dental X-rays are used to screen and diagnose dental problems, they are not without risks. Just like other types of X-rays, some are concerned about the risk of developing cancer due to exposure to radiation. The risk of cancer increases with the number of X-rays you get.
To protect your vital organs from radiation, the dentist will place a lead vest over your chest, abdomen, and pelvic region. A thyroid collar is also used for patients with thyroid problems.
How to Prepare for Dental X-Ray
There is no special preparation required when getting a dental x-ray. Simply brush your teeth thoroughly before your appointment for hygienic purposes. The dentist will have a lead vest to cover your chest and abdomen while you are seated in the dental chair. The X-ray machine will be positioned alongside your head to get a recording of your mouth.
After Dental X-Rays
Once the X-ray images are available, the dentists will immediately check for and review potential abnormalities. After the dental hygienist is done cleaning your teeth, the dentist will look into the X-ray images and discuss the results and any significant problems that require immediate attention.
In most cases, dental X-rays are usually done every one or two years, depending on the factors stated above. Make sure to commit to your appointments and see your dentist regularly as you can.