Dental x-rays are an important part of your routine check-up. They help us to spot troublesome areas in your mouth, teeth, and gums. In addition, we can see the position of your jaw and facial bone composition. Some of these areas are difficult to see with just an oral exam.
The two main types of dental x-rays are intraoral and extraoral. Intraoral x-rays are commonly used to show the entire tooth, from the crown to the level of the supporting bone. There are three different types of intraoral x-rays. Extraoral x-rays are used to detect problems in the skull and jaw. Proper evaluation of the x-rays helps us to treat dental problems early.
WHAT DOES A CAVITY LOOK LIKE?
When we look at an x-ray, we are looking for several things. Most obvious, we look at an x-ray to see if a cavity exists on any surface of any tooth. Although x-rays are black and white, there is some gradation which helps us to spot cavities quickly. Most often, a cavity appears as a darker spot on a tooth. It can also look like a shadow. Fillings look like a brighter spots on the tooth. It is good to assess the fillings to make sure they are in good working order and no tooth decay is present. An x-ray of a healthy mouth shows healthy enamel. The enamel is a brighter white tone and cavities are darker.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET AN X-RAY?
Depending on your dental history and current condition, x-rays may be taken as often as every six months. New patients may have x-rays taken at their initial exam. If we suspect a problem, it is important to take an x-ray to have a full picture of the condition of your mouth.
If you suspect a dental issue, the most important thing you can do is make an appointment with our office staff. We can assess your situation within minutes and help guide you with a treatment plan.