Dental X-Rays: Important Information to Know

Dental X-rays can cause anxiety and uncertainty in many, and having a general understanding of what exactly a dental X-ray is and why they are needed can help calm any nerves that may exist.

For many dentists, dental X-rays are the most powerful tool they have at their disposal, allowing them to efficiently diagnose, prevent and treat various oral health concerns.

Dental X-rays information

Most are familiar with what a dental X-ray is, but many do not understand why they are important, what the different types are and how they are performed.

The following are important pieces of information to know about dental X-rays, including how they are performed and when they are the most recommended.

Different types of dental X-rays

There are several different types of dental X-rays, and the specific type ordered depends on the patient's details, including what dental X-rays have been ordered in the past and what potential oral health concerns are suspected.

Here are the most common types of dental x-rays:

  • Bitewing
  • Occlusal 
  • Periapical 
  • Panoramic 

As mentioned, the type of dental X-ray ordered is largely dependent upon the need of the patient. A bitewing dental X-ray is perhaps the most common and gives dentists a general overview of the patient’s oral health. An occlusal may be performed to check for impacted teeth, growth of wisdom teeth and any bone issues that may exist.

Additionally, a periapical dental X-ray is often ordered when a specific tooth needs to be fully examined. Panoramic, which are the least common, are typically performed every three to five years.

How dental X-rays are performed

How dental X-rays are performed may vary slightly for each dentist, but there is a typical set pattern that most follow. The first step of a dental X-ray often involves the patient sitting upright in a chair, or in some cases, the patient may be instructed to stand up. After which, protective gear such as a lead apron and a thyroid collar may be applied. Lastly, the X-ray film or sensor is placed in the patient's mouth and the X-ray photo is taken.

The entire procedure is done in a relatively short amount of time and is completely painless and non-invasive.

When dental X-rays are recommended

In most cases, routine dental X-rays that are only performed several times a year at most are enough to ensure that there are not any oral health concerns. However, there may be a need for dental X-rays if any oral health concerns exist that cannot be fully diagnosed through oral examination.

For instance, a dental X-ray may be ordered ahead of schedule to track wisdom teeth that may be creating oral care issues, to determine whether a root canal is necessary, if there are gum issues that need to be examined or if a TMJ disorder is suspected to be an issue.

Go to https://www.drcharvet.com for dental X-rays information or call Charvet Dental Center at (504) 208-4751.

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