Dental technology is better than ever today, and dentists have a lot of valuable tools at their disposal to provide the best care possible. An often overlooked but extremely valuable tool is that of dental X-rays, and dentists turn to these scans to diagnose long term issues and track tooth development. Let's take a closer look at why dental x-rays are important and a key part of proper dental care.
How Dental X-Rays Work
X-rays are best at detecting issues with bones rather than soft tissue. This is because X-rays easily penetrate soft tissue but take longer to pass through bone. This is why bones show up as dark images on X-ray film. Dentists and dental technicians are able to inspect teeth and nearby bones for decay, damage, and development issues by studying X-ray film. This allows them to detect problems that are otherwise missed on the surface. Dental X-rays are often performed in office, which allows the staff to diagnose issues and plan treatment options quickly. There is some concern as to the overall longterm impact of dental X-rays, but a carefully planned X-ray can be a worthwhile procedure.
What Dental X-rays Detect
As we just covered, dental X-rays are very effective at diagnosing issues like cavities and abscesses. Since cavities can form between teeth as well as in the front and back, X-rays provide a fail proof way to detect cavities that the naked eye would otherwise be missed. Dental X-rays are just as valuable when used to diagnose more substantial problems. Among these are the emergence of wisdom teeth, and X-rays are also effective at identifying cysts and tumors in the mouth. It is especially important to spot cancerous growths as soon as possible, and dental X-rays make this possible.
Other severe issues that X-rays can detect include early signs of gum disease or gingivitis. X-rays are a valuable tool for diagnosing Bruxism, or the grinding of teeth. Finally, dental X-rays can help your dentist inspect tooth roots, ensuring any issues lurking below the teeth are diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. In short, much diagnosing of dental issues is performed with X-rays, so much so that the casual patient may overlook just how important they are.
X-Rays Show Things Are Going Right Too
X-rays are not just useful for diagnosing problems, they are a great way to verify that teeth are developing correctly as well. This is especially important in pediatric dentistry, where dentists want to monitor how adult teeth are growing. A quick X-ray can confirm that adult teeth are developing correctly. However, sometimes adult teeth may grow too fast before the baby teeth are ready to fall out, and X-rays allow dentists to decide if the baby teeth should be pulled in-office to prevent complications.
Final Thoughts On Dental X-rays
Well there you have it - dental X-rays are extremely important part of proper dental care, and you probably didn't even give it a second thought when you sat down for an X-ray. While you will want to limit the amount of dental X-rays you have overall, performing a rare X-ray can be important because they may just pinpoint an otherwise overlooked issue. Haven't had your dental X-rays in a long while? Schedule an appointment with Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry and we'll make sure you're up to date.