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X-rays, A Valuable Diagnostic Tool

May 13, 2019

X-rays, A Valuable Diagnostic Tool

X-ray or radiographs give your dentist the ability to see the inner layers of your teeth and the bones that hold your teeth in place. Because of this reason, dental X-rays in dentistry serves an essential function during an oral examination. X-rays provide your dentist with a comprehensive view of what’s happening in your mouth. For example, X-rays may help your dentist detect tooth decay or cavities and help you develop a plan to restore the tooth, check disease in the bone, gum disease, any infection that may have developed under the gums, and in some cases tumors. Dental X-rays can help your dentist detect early oral health problems and develop a plan to address the issue early before it becomes a significant problem.

Common Types of Dental X-rays

Two classes of dental X-rays commonly used by your dentist are intraoral and extraoral X-rays.

Intraoral X-rays are the most common type of X-ray taken inside the mouth to show intricate details of the teeth. There are three types of intraoral X-rays called bite-wing, periapical and occlusal X-rays. The first type is called bite-wing X-rays which shows the upper and lower features in the back row teeth. Each bite-wing X-ray shows the intricate layers that make up a tooth from the outer enamel surface to the inner pulp of a tooth. Bite-wing X-ray is used to determine any decay of the back teeth, the integrity of aging dental fillings, and also help determine proper crown fitment. The second type called periapical X-rays highlights details from one or two teeth at a time. Periapical X-ray shows the entire length of each tooth from the crown to the root where the teeth are attached. The third type is called occlusal X-rays, and it highlights the tooth development in children. Each X-ray shows the upper and lower arch of the jaw giving a detailed image of the upper and lower bite of the jaw.

In contrast, the extraoral X-rays are used to detect oral health problems in the jaw and skull. This type of X-rays gives a comprehensive view of the teeth and its development in relation to the jaw and skull. Extraoral X-rays are less detailed than localized intraoral X-rays. For this reason, extraoral X-rays are not used for detecting cavities. Three types of extraoral X-rays can be used to image tooth development in relations to the jaw and skull. The first type is called panoramic X-rays which takes a single image of the lower and upper jaws including the teeth. The second type is called cephalometric projection X-rays that image the entire side of the head. This type of X-ray determines the relation of teeth to the jaw. The third type is called computed tomography, which provides a three-dimensional image of the jaw and teeth.

Dental X-ray is a safe and valuable tool used by your dentist to check the development and condition of your teeth. Don’t forget to schedule your regular cleaning and check up and remember to ask your dentist about getting a dental X-ray. Be sure to contact California Dental Group at (800) 407-0161 for your appointment.

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