Dental X-rays are an important dental tool, used often to diagnose a problem, or just get a picture of our overall oral health. So why are dental x-rays so important and what do they do? What can you expect if you need dental x-rays?

Different Kinds of X-rays

Not all Dental x-rays are the same thing. There are many different types of dental x-rays with different purposes and approaches. These include:

– Bitewing X-rays- Often used to get a better look at a problem area before filling a cavity or finalizing a treatment plan, or may be used once a year to get a closer look at specific areas.
– Panoramic X-rays- Often used as an overall oral health diagnostic tool. This gives the dentist a global picture of your dental health. This can also be used to prepare for oral surgery, or braces. Generally unless used for a specific purpose, a dentist may do this once every 3-5 years.
– Periapical X-Rays- A root to crown picture that gives a close up of one tooth, ruling out more serious problems and helping your dentist plan your treatment.

How X-Rays are Taken

You may be placed in a chair with an apron over you to protect the rest of your body from the radiation. Or you may be asked to stand for a panoramic X-ray. Either way, if you’re unsure what kind of x-ray, and how you can help get the best picture possible, ask the staff member taking the dental x-ray what it is, and what to do. They can help you understand more about the process and your role in it.

How they Affect Treatment and Diagnosis

Without a Dental x-ray, a dentist is essentially acting on what they can see with their naked eye, which is not the whole picture. X-rays give a more complete view of your mouth and its health, giving the dentist a better informed place to work from. They can tell the dentist about what’s going on where they can’t see, or how involved a specific treatment may be.

If you need a dental appointment for a cleaning, or are experiencing symptoms of a cavity, call our Dr. Stephanie Mullins DDS in Lee's Summit, MO to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you determine when you are due for your next dental X-rays.