Categories Dentist

Beneath the Surface: The Power of Dental X-rays

Dental X-rays are important diagnostic tools that provide accurate details and information about the tooth morphology and the presence of any pathology. They can identify diseases and defects that are usually not visible to the naked eye. 

Dental X-rays are provided by the dentist in South Reno, NV, by taking all the necessary safety precautions, in addition to offering accurate details. The results help the dentists design an appropriate treatment plan. 

What are dental X-rays? How do they work?

Dental X-rays or radiographs are internal images of your teeth and jaws. Dentists use X-rays to examine structures that they can’t visualize during a routine checkup, like the teeth roots, alveolar bone, nerves, and sinuses. 

They use high-energy electromagnetic radiation to capture accurate images of your oral cavity. The radiation beams can penetrate through your soft tissues to form an image. Dental X-rays can be traditional (taken with a film) or digital (taken with digital sensors and a computer).

Different structures appear in a unique way in the radiographs:

  • Dense structures such as metal restorations appear white in the image
  • Teeth, tissues, and fluids appear as shades of gray
  • Structures that contain air appear black

What can dental X-rays detect?  

Dental X-rays help dentists diagnose a wide range of oral health problems, including:

  • Cavities in the interdental areas (between the teeth)
  • Decay beneath existing fillings
  • Dental abscesses (pus-filled pockets) or cysts (fluid-filled sacs)
  • Bone loss in your jaw
  • Benign (noncancerous) and malignant (cancerous) tumors 
  • Developmental abnormalities
  • Abnormal tooth or root positions
  • Any tooth problem present subgingivally (below the gum line), such as fractures or bony lesions

Oral X-rays also help to determine your eligibility for dental implants, braces, or dentures. Dentists also use X-rays to assess healing after certain procedures like bone grafts and root canal therapy.

Are dental X-rays safe? How often do you need them?

The radiation risk from dental X-rays is minimal. This is comparable to the amount of radiation you absorb from things like TVs, smartphones and computers, and background radiation from the sun and the Earth itself. However, in extremely large doses, dental X-rays can be harmful, increasing your risk of cancer. Furthermore, you should undergo dental X-rays only when necessary.

Dentists usually follow certain safety measures to lower radiation exposure. These include:

  • Using lead apron shields to protect the body
  • Using modern, fast film to  limit the exposure time of each X-ray

Bottom line 

Dental X-rays are essential for proper oral health and maintenance. These diagnostic tools can reveal accurate information that helps dentists plan the further course of action. However, care should be taken to avoid repeated X-rays to prevent the risk of cancer.