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Why Are X-Rays Necessary At The Dentist?

Have you ever wondered why x-rays may be necessary during your regular dental visit at Living Oaks Dental? Our goal is to keep patients informed about their oral health, and this includes the importance of x-rays and how they’re used in dentistry. Here’s everything you need to know about dental x-rays:

X-Rays Let Dentists Look Deeper Than The Surface

X-rays consist of images taken using high-energy electromagnetic radiation. Soft, low-density tissue such as our skin and organs cannot absorb this radiation, so it will mostly pass through this tissue. 

However, more dense and hard material in our bodies, such as the bones and teeth, can absorb the x-ray radiation. Using special film or digital sensors, this absorption can be measured and turned into an image, similar to a photograph. 

This is why x-rays are so important at the dentist. They allow your dentist to look past the tissue of your mouth, such as your gums, and into the deeper areas of your teeth and jaw bone. This allows your dentist to look for signs of oral health issues that may be invisible with a visual examination alone. 

Therapeutic Vs. Diagnostic X-Rays – What’s The Difference?

Did you know that not all x-rays at the dentist are the same? The x-rays your dentist takes during your appointment may vary depending on the purpose of your visit. There are two types of x-rays; therapeutic and diagnostic.

Therapeutic x-rays are the type of x-ray you’ll usually get during a standard dental visit that includes an oral exam and a teeth cleaning. The purpose of this type of x-ray is to provide your dentist with a holistic view of your teeth and your mouth, which allows them to look for any potential signs of oral health issues that may require further investigation. 

At many dental offices, panoramic x-rays are taken using digital radiography, which provides your dentist with a complete overview of your teeth. Some dental offices may use multiple bitewing x-rays. Each bitewing will provide the dentist with a view of several of your teeth.

Diagnostic x-rays are a bit different. They are usually required when a larger dental treatment is being planned. If you are having a root canal, for example, Dr. Brabston may take a “periapical” diagnostic x-ray. This type of x-ray is specifically intended to capture a comprehensive image of the entire tooth, all the way from the top (crown) to the bottom (root). 

If you are having any kind of dental procedure like a root canal, dental implant, or even a filling, in some cases, additional diagnostic x-rays may be required to image the tooth and the surrounding areas, and plan your treatment accordingly. 

Do I Really Need To Get X-Rays Every Year?

No. In the past, yearly x-rays were often recommended by dentists. But today, the ADA recommends that healthy adults with no major apparent dental problems only need to get x-rays about every 2-3 years. 

If your mouth is healthy and free of issues like gum disease and tooth decay, Dr. Brabston will only need to take x-rays every once in a while. However, if you have oral health problems, it may be necessary to x-ray your mouth more frequently. 

Come To Living Oaks Dental For Routine Dental Care, Oral Exams & X-Rays

Overdue for your next dental checkup? Dr. Gene Brabston, our experienced family dentist, is here to help. With a teeth cleaning, oral exam and x-rays in Fairhope from Living Oaks Dental, you can take control of your dental health, and make sure you get the care you need to maintain healthy gums and teeth. Contact us now at (251) 928-1645 to get started, or stop by our office at 506 N Section St, Fairhope, AL 36532. 

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