Why Dental X-Rays Are Important

Why Dental X-Rays Are Important

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Dentists want their patients to have healthy, attractive teeth. X-rays are an important part of delivering that care. Dental X-rays are typically taken just once a year but may be taken more often if dental issues develop.

There are several types of X-rays a dentist uses but the most common are:

  • Bitewing X-rays (upper and lower back teeth) – Probably the type of X-ray most people are familiar with, a bitewing involves biting down on a special mount. Bitewings allow your dentist to identify cavities between teeth, broken fillings, and bone loss in your jawbone due to gum disease. 
  • Occlusal X-rays (biting surface of teeth) – Occlusal X-rays are taken with the mouth closed and check how the upper and lower teeth line up as well as look for issues with the floor of a person’s mouth and the hard palate, or roof.
  • Panoramic X-rays (entire mouth on a single X-ray) – For this X-ray, you sit still while the camera rotates around the outside of your head. This is commonly used when checking on wisdom teeth or to identify impacted teeth.   
  • Periapical X-rays (entire tooth, from crown to bone) – Periapical X-rays are used to diagnose otherwise hidden problems such as an abscess or problems at the tooth’s root or surrounding bone.

Seeing your dentist regularly is important. This way, your dentist has access to each year’s set of X-rays to determine if teeth are moving, the progression of any decay, jawbone problems, or other issues.

While exposure to any type of X-rays includes risks, dental X-rays are typically done digitally, greatly reducing the amount of radiation you are exposed to. However, even traditional dental X-rays contain so little radiation exposure that they are considered safe for adults and children. Typically, a lead bib is used to protect against unfocused radiation. Women who are pregnant should check with their doctor before having any type of X-ray, including dental X-rays.

When Was Your Last X-Ray? 

If you have not been to the dentist in a few years, or are changing dentists, you may be overdue for a full set of X-rays.

Most dentists take a full set of X-rays on new patients unless they can get hold of a recent set from your previous dentist. While X-rays can be expensive, most dental insurance plans provide for a full set of X-rays each year. 

If you are in need of dental work and want to ensure that your smile is the best that it can be, make an appointment to meet Dr. Ari Binder at 360 Dental. Call (541) 689-1645 or request an appointment online. Your smile and the people you smile at will thank you!