X-rays help medical professionals get more complete information on the internal structure of an organ. It serves as a very important diagnostic tool in all fields of medicine. Dental X-rays are also used in a similar manner. They help the dentists to get clarity on the oral health concerns that can potentially develop into more serious and damaging diseases.
Dental X-rays reveal underlying issues with regard to oral health in situations where they are not visible to the naked eye. They help dentists see inside the bone and also between the teeth. This is important as it acts as a preventive tool and helps the dentist guide the patient on the treatment if required, and the oral hygiene and lifestyle habits that need to be adopted.
Dental X rays are done to support the dentists in making their diagnosis. Usually they are done as required, and the decision is best left to the dentist. If a patient person has a history of tooth decay, then the dentists may suggest taking an X-ray to find out the actual situation regarding the oral health.
Going for dental X rays do not require any special preparation unlike other dental procedures. Usually brushing is recommended as it helps to create a cleaner oral environment. Many worry if the radiation coming from the X rays would harm them. The machines that are used to do these dental X rays are usually designed in such a way that they minimise radiation and does not harm other body parts.
How do X rays help?
Those features of the teeth that are not visible to the naked eye – the information is obtained using dental X rays. Some of the conditions that can be checked are:
Tooth cavities: One of the easiest ways of finding cavities is by doing X rays. Dentists will also look for changes in the density of the tooth enamel.
Root structure: This hard to reach area can best be understood by using X rays. The nature of the tooth root, are they affected by infection, are they healthy – all of this information can be obtained with the help of an x-ray.
Help in checking for gum disease: Gum disease and their stages of development can be known using X rays. Infection and bone loss around the teeth area is checked.
Teeth development: To know the way the teeth are developing, whether they are impacted, how the wisdom teeth are developing, is there a need to remove the wisdom teeth – all of this information can be obtained by looking at the x rays and the teeth development as a whole.
Types of X – rays
Dental X rays help in obtaining a complete picture of the oral region. They are broadly classified as intraoral X rays and extraoral X-rays. The former is the term used for X- ray in the interior of the mouth and the other for X-ray outside the mouth. Usually the dental X- rays that are commonly taken are for the interior of the mouth. This helps to understand the oral health of a person.
Intraoral X-rays are one of the most common ones performed. They are different types in this X rays:
Bite Wing X-ray: This is done to know how well the crowns of the teeth are. This helps the dentist when a crown fitting is being planned. Cavities between the teeth and also changes in the bone density can be noticed if this type of X- ray is done.
Occlusal X- ray: This type of X-ray is used to know about the tooth development of the whole teeth. Both the upper and lower row of teeth can be captured using this type of dental X rays.
Periapical X-ray: This helps to get the X-ray picture of the whole tooth right from the crown to the dental root. If they are any abnormalities with the root structure then this type of X-ray is prescribed.
Extraoral is focused on the jaw and skull region, as being outside the oral region. The focus of this is to look at the nature of the impacted teeth, problems in the area of jaws and bones etc.
There are few categories in this type of X rays awe well:
Panoramic X rays: This helps to get the position of teeth in both the jaws in a single row. A comprehensive view of the position of the teeth helps to know if there are any impacted teeth, are there any tumours or growth developing – all this information is obtained.
Tomograms: This type of X rays helps in seeing a particular section of the teeth, other areas of the teeth in this X ray is blurred or they stay as out of focus. If the dentist needs to obtain or gather information on a particular area of the tooth, then this type of X-ray is suggested.
Cephalometric: This helps to obtain picture of a side of the head and teeth. Picture of the jaw bone is obtained using this.
There are other X-rays which help to obtain information on the salivary glands or even obtain a three dimensional image. It can be seen the vast advancement in the field of medicine and technology has helped in providing good diagnostic tools for proper and good treatment plans.