X-rays, also known as radiographs, are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan. It’s diagnostic, but more importantly, can also be preventative by helping the dentist to detect potential issues before they become a major and costly problem.
X-rays assist in diagnosing cavities, determining the status of developing teeth, check the health of tooth roots and bone levels and generally monitor the health of your mouth.
During an oral examination, there are areas between your teeth, inside your teeth, or under your gums that are hidden from view. If there are any problems in these areas, they will be missed without X-ray imaging.
By performing an X-ray, issues that would otherwise be undetected, can be discovered at an early stage, and the appropriate treatment can be performed to stop the problem progressing further to a much bigger and costlier problem.
Our team at Lydiard St Dental Clinic is preventative focused and we pride ourselves on catching any dental issues early. We know this is extremely beneficial to our patients as it improves the treatment outcome and avoids costly treatment.
How often are x-rays required?
Some people may need X-rays as often as every six months depending on a number of factors such as tendency to have decay or gum disease. However, people who have dental care regularly and have excellent oral health may only need X-rays every two years or so as part of their care.
Types of x-rays
X-rays are divided into two main categories, intraoral and extra-oral. Intraoral is an X-ray where the film is put inside your mouth while the film is exposed to the X-rays. This type is the most common as they give a high level of detail of the tooth, bone and supporting tissues of the mouth. An extra-oral x-ray is taken outside of the mouth. An example of this sort of radiograph is called an OPG (full mouth radiograph).
Are x-rays safe?
Regardless of whether you’re a child or an adult, you can have X-rays taken safely of the inside and outside of your mouth. An x-ray is a type of electromagnetic energy that passes through soft tissues and is absorbed by dense tissue. Teeth and bone are very dense, so they absorb X-rays, while X-rays pass more easily through gums and cheeks. This behavior of the electromagnetic energy allows an image with enough contrast to be produced on a film or electronic sensor.
A lead shield will be placed over you from your neck to your knees, blocking any possible stray radiation from reaching your body. The amount of radiation involved is extremely low, and is equivalent to the sort of exposure you’d receive on a 1-2 hour flight on a commercial airline. This means that even if you’re pregnant you can have X-rays taken, although we generally keep this to a minimum during this period for your peace of mind.
Why the dentist and assistant always leave the room during x-rays?
As your dental team, we take hundreds of x-rays every week and so we limit the amount of radiation received by moving away from the x-ray beam. However, the risk to you, as the patient, from one or two routine x-rays is extremely low. So be reassured they are safe and helps with the early detection of any dental problems.
The philosophy of Lydiard St Dental Clinic is on prevention, and early detection is the key to achieving the best treatment outcome and at the same time helps to keep your dental treatment cost to a minimum.
If you have any concerns or questions in relation to your oral health, please give our friendly team a call. Our Ballarat dentists will be more than happy to help and lead you in the right direction.