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The Importance Of X rays In Dental Care And Prevention

Dentist showing patient x ray results

Comprehensive dental care is becoming recognized as a critical component to maintaining good overall health. The explicit connections found between oral decay and widespread disease throughout the rest of the body suggest to us that we should prioritize our dental care as part of a total health plan.

Radiographs, more commonly known as dental x-rays, are an essential part of good dental care. Being both preventative and diagnostic, they not only allow dentists to treat areas of concern, but they also assist in finding problem areas in the mouth that may have gone undetected through routine inspection. Taking and examining x-rays allows dental professionals and patients to work cooperatively to design proactive plans for dental restoration and preventative care.

X-Rays Are An Essential Part Of Good Oral Health X-rays are one of the essential tools a dentist has to treat patients proactively. Dental professionals use x-rays to diagnose, prevent, and treat disease and decay in the mouth. X-rays provide a comprehensive look inside the mouth beyond what a routine examination can do. Radiograph results probe deeper into the soft tissues and bone structure of the mouth, exposing areas of the mouth that need to be addressed and treated. In some cases, x- rays make it possible to identify infections and more pressing issues that might infect other areas of the body if left unchecked.

X-Rays Expose Many Degenerative Conditions Implementing x-rays as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, x-rays can:

  • Identify abscesses, infections, and other unusual growths in and around the mouth

  • Expose cavities and areas of decay

  • Highlight structural deficiencies in soft tissue and bone structure of the mouth

  • Uncover early stages of periodontal disease and decay

  • Help dentist link oral degeneration to other conditions present in the body

Finding deficiencies while still in the early stages is critical to proactively treating and preventing further disease and decay. Preventative dental treatment is most certainly less time consuming and less expensive than restorative treatment; proper treatment includes taking regular x-rays that guide your dental professionals so that they can treat you promptly.

Types Of X-Rays Used In Dental Care

Dental professionals use many x-ray techniques to provide optimal care for their patients.

  • Bitewing x-rays are used to capture images of the outer surface of the teeth and in between tooth surfaces. Bitewing film will expose areas of decay that have already begun, as well as identify areas of weakness that may be of concern at a later date.

  • Periapical x-rays provide a dentist a little more in-depth look beyond the surface of the teeth. Periapical views offer a glimpse into inner structures of the tooth, right down to the root system and nerves in and around gum tissue. Periapical views also provide a more comprehensive look at the bone structure of the jaw and the health of the jaw in general.

  • Panoramic x-rays are used to get an overall picture of the mouth. With a panoramic view, a dentist can assess unwanted growth, structural abnormalities, areas containing missing or impacted teeth, and diseases or disorders of the mouth and jaw.

  • Occlusal x-rays are primarily used for children, as they aid in detecting growing teeth, while a cephalometric film is used to prepare and plan for orthodontic treatment. All types of x-rays are beneficial in providing quality patient care.

Young girl holding an x ray of her teeth

Regular X-Ray Assessment: Part Of Good Oral Hygiene Patient needs are unique and varied; talking with your dentist and designing a comprehensive treatment plan will determine what your x-ray needs are and how often they are needed. If you already have a well-established relationship with your dentist, you may only need x-rays for maintenance. A new patient or someone who is in need of immediate attention due to dental pain and discomfort will initially need more film for the formulation of the perfect treatment plan.

X-Rays And Radiation: Is It Detrimental To My Health? Due to recent improvements in dental technologies, taking x-rays has never been safer. Digital technology has become the standard in many dental offices, making the risks of radiation to patients and caregivers alike much lower. Patients with abdominal or thyroid issues might still be required to use a lead apron, as well as women who may be pregnant or are breastfeeding. Talk to your dental professional if any of these conditions apply to you, and they will work with you to minimize risk during your care.

You And Your Dentist: A Partnership On The Road To Optimal Health Your oral health is a long-term partnership between you and your dentist. While s/he may provide excellent care in the office, it is vital for you to remember that your proactive treatment begins at home. Regular brushing, flossing, and assessment of your mouth are essential components of comprehensive care. Besides, being able to communicate areas of concern and your unique needs to your dentist will ensure that you are receiving premium care.

At Park Street Dental, we are committed to helping you design a care plan that works for you and your unique needs. Our professional, caring and dedicated staff will help you achieve the excellent oral health that you deserve. The very committed team at Park Street go above and beyond to make you feel safe, comfortable, and confident that you are in fact always receiving the best dental care available in the Tampa-Clearwater-St. Petersburg metro area.

Visit us today at for more information and to set up an appointment. A healthy, vibrant smile is in your future!

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