Dental x-rays are used to see areas of the mouth that are not visible clinically. These areas include the bone, the roots, and spaces between the teeth that are not visible when looking in the mouth. Dental x-rays are a crucial diagnostic tool to help maintain the gums, bone, teeth and jaw. X-rays show the density of oral structures in black and white, the more dense a structure is, such as tooth enamel, the lighter it shows up. The less-dense a structure is, such as gum tissue, the darker it is. This is why x-rays are an excellent tool for diagnosing cavities because decayed tooth structure shows up darker than healthy tool structure.
Bitewing x-rays (also called check-up x-rays) are x-rays that are taken primarily to check for cavities between the back teeth. They can show the crowns of the premolars and molars but not the roots of those teeth.
Periapical x-rays are used when checking the health of one or several teeth, including the roots. They only show either the top or the bottom but capture the entire crown and root. This type of x-ray is used to check for tooth infections.
Panoramic x-rays are used to capture a view of the entire mouth, including the jaw. This x-ray is used for an overall assessment. It helps with checking all of the roots, checking for abnormalities in the jaw, checking the wisdom teeth, and is also used for braces.
Check-up x-rays are typically taken every 1-2 years to check for cavities between teeth. They will be recommended more frequently for people who have had previous cavities between the teeth and less regularly for people who have never had cavities before. They are taken to catch cavities in their earliest stage before they grow larger.
Periapical x-rays will be taken when there is a specific problem to check, such as pain associated with a tooth.
Panoramic x-rays are taken every 3-5 years to check the health of all tooth structures or for braces treatment.
If you have any questions about dental x-rays, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.