X-rays help the dental team to assess the condition of your mouth and to check for any hidden problems.
Early tooth decay does not tend to show many physical signs. Sometimes the tooth may look normal and healthy, but your dental team will be able to see from an X-ray whether you have any decay under the enamel, any possible signs of infections in the root of the tooth or any bone loss around the tooth. In children an X-ray can show any teeth that haven’t come through yet and show the dental team whether there is enough space for the teeth to erupt.
In adults it can show any impacted wisdom teeth that may need to be removed before they cause problems.
Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save both time and money.
If you are a new patient the dental team are likely to suggest that you have various X-rays, unless you have had them taken recently by a previous dentist, if necessary X-rays can be requested from your previous dentist and returned to once our dental team have looked at them. X-rays may be recommended every 6 to 24 months depending on the person, their history of decay, age and condition of their mouth.
There are various types of X-ray. Some show one or more teeth and their roots, while others can take a picture of several teeth at once. The most common X-rays are small ones called a Periapical radiograph or a set of Bitewings, which are taken regularly to keep a check on the condition of the teeth and gums, showing the roots and surrounding area. The larger X-ray is called a Panoral radiograph and shows the whole mouth including all the teeth and the bone structure that supports the teeth.
The amount of radiation received from a dental X-ray is extremely small. We get more radiation from natural sources such as minerals in the soil and from our general environment. With modern techniques and equipment risks are kept to a minimum. The dental team have undergone the necessary training to ensure your safety and will only recommend an X-ray when they need to.
You should always tell your dental team if you are pregnant, they will then make the decision along with yourself as to the urgency and necessity of the X-ray. X-rays would not generally be taken within the first three months of pregnancy.
The dental team take many X-rays each week, they limit the amount of radiation they may receive by moving away from the X-ray beam which is the reason they leave the room.