Detecting Decay or Cavities
Dental x-rays are primarily used to detect decay, or cavities, but are also necessary for many other reasons. Although decay can sometimes be seen by simply looking with a trained eye into your mouth, many times it cannot. Decay is often found between teeth and this type of cavity can usually only be seen by looking at an x-ray. Additionally, x-rays can detect decay before it gets big enough to be seen visually, saving you loss of tooth structure by catching it early. Decay is bacteria that destroy your tooth as it grows so when it is not detected early, there is more damage to the tooth as it eats away your anatomy. The rate a cavity grows differs and is not predictable, however, it is always growing and any growth at all equals more destruction. For most people, taking a minimum of four x-rays every 6-12 months is necessary. These are called “check-up” or bitewing x-rays.
What do x-rays show other than decay?
Development of teeth, the health of the roots of your teeth, the health of the bone surrounding your teeth and detecting tumors that can develop in your jaw bones are some of the other routine reasons that dental x-rays are necessary. Some of these issues can be seen on the bitewing x-rays mentioned previously. Some of these require a different type of x-ray that shows the entire anatomy of a tooth, including the entire root and surrounding bone. A full set of x-rays, or an FMX, consists of about 18 x-rays and is usually taken once every 3-5 years. Again, your need for this type of x-ray series is determined on an individual basis depending on your risk factors. Sometimes, it is necessary to take additional x-rays when you are experiencing an acute problem to help properly diagnose an issue.
Your health is our priority
You can rest assured that the team at Advanced Dental Health always has your health in mind when deciding if taking an x-ray is necessary to provide you with optimal care. Our office is equipped with digital x-ray machines which deliver a significantly smaller dose of radiation than traditional dental radiography does. We provide our patients with aprons to reduce the amount of radiation they receive even further. We take the fewest number of x-rays we need to ensure we do not compromise the dental care you receive. We will not take an x-ray if it is not necessary to properly provide the treatment you are seeking so you can be assured that you are not exposed to unnecessary radiation. Because of our commitment to providing each of our patients with optimal care, when we tell you it is time for your x-rays, you can be confident we have looked at your history and determined your need in advance or it would not be recommended. A good analogy is this; you expect that your medical doctor will need to take blood work from you at regular intervals to diagnose and treat you as a patient and your dentist needs diagnostic information to deliver the appropriate treatment for you as well. We value the trust you give us when you allow us to work with you in delivering optimal dental care and look forward to hearing you say “ok” the next time we tell you it is time for your dental x-rays.
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