When you go to your dentist, they often take x-rays of your teeth. You may not know why, what are the different types (and their uses), as well as their safety.
Types of X-Rays
The most common x-rays, called bite-wings, help your dentist check to see if you have any cavities in your back teeth. They allow your dentist to see between teeth and even under fillings. Another common kind of x-ray is called a periapical. Your dentist uses these to see what’s going on below your gumline to inspect the health of your teeth’s roots. (You can also see cavities using periapical x-rays.) The type of x-ray that’s really important for Orthodontists and Oral Surgeons is the panoramic x-ray. This type shows all of your teeth, including your jaw bones, in one large, rectangle x-ray sheet. Your oral surgeon will use this type of x-ray for example to determine if you need to have your wisdom teeth out. Orthodontists use a variety of x-rays, include a panoramic x-ray to determine course of treatment.
For more complicated dental cases, dental professionals often use a cone-beam x-ray, which gives them full, 3-D teeth, jaw and skull rendering. They may use this type of x-ray for reconstructive surgery, for example.
Patients often wonder if x-rays are safe. All of us are exposed to radiation from our daily life. An x-ray is comparable to walk in the sun. We get exposure from the air we breathe, the ground we walk on and even taking airplane flight across the country increases our exposure to x-rays. To be extra careful, your dentist will cover your body and throat with a lead filled apron and collar. X-Rays cannot pass through lead.
Your dental professional uses x-rays to check the health of your teeth and supporting bone. They’re used as tools to help Dentists, Oral Surgeons, Orthodontists and other dental specialists see in a different way to diagnose and treat dental health problems. Modern x-ray machines expose the body to the very minimum amount of radiation and the rest of the body can be protected by lead shielding.