At your bi-annual dental appointments, you most likely have dental x-rays taken. While these images are an important diagnostic tool, just what are they showing and why are they important? At our dental office in Belle Fourche, we don’t want any patient to have anything done and not know why. That’s why we’re here to help explain the point of dental x-rays as well as talk about the different types.
What Do Dental X-Rays Show?
Essentially, dental x-rays allow us to see what we can’t with just our eyes alone. Even though our exams and cleanings are incredibly thorough, sometimes disease or decay is hiding below the surface just waiting to cause a problem. This is where x-rays come in handy. Images obtained through dental x-rays can help us catch:
- Bone loss
- Impacted teeth
- Damaged bone
- Abscesses or cysts
Having x-rays taken allows your dentist in Belle Fourche to diagnose any potential problems early when treatment is still easy and before you may even have to experience any pain or other symptoms.
Two Main Types of Dental X-Rays
While there are several kinds of dental x-rays, they can typically be broken down into two main categories: intraoral or extraoral.
Intraoral x-rays show the details of each individual tooth. Because of this intricate view, these x-rays are useful in helping dentists identify:
- Gum Disease
- Deteriorating Bone
Extraoral x-rays take a broader image of the entire mouth including all of the teeth, the jaw, and skull. Extraoral x-rays can help examine:
- Tooth Growth & Development
- Issues with the jaw joint (TMJ)
- Impacted Teeth
Dental x-rays are a crucial part to a thorough exam and are necessary for preventive dental care. You should have x-rays taken at least once a year, sometimes twice depending on your unique needs and health. Dental x-ray emit a low amount of radiation and are safe. Our Belle Fourche dental office also takes additional safety measures to further protect you including using lead vests and only taking them when necessary. If have any questions regarding dental x-rays, or need to schedule an appointment, we welcome you to call us at any time.