A dental x-ray is an image that's taken so that the doctor has the opportunity to diagnose things that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Dental x-rays are taken at a particular interval around the entire mouth. Typically, that's every two to three years. Some areas may need to be taken more often than that if it's used in a specific case. If there's any area that's suspect, we may have an issue going on, we will take an additional image as needed.
The purpose of a dental x-ray is to aid the doctor in making an accurate diagnosis. This goes along with the things that the doctor can see in the mouth clinically with their own eyes, as well as through the actual clinical exam itself. But the x-ray does additional imaging that allows us to see things that otherwise we would not be able to see.
There's a number of different types of dental x-rays. Some of the common ones are a bitewing x-ray, a PA or a periapical radiograph, a pano or a panoramic radiograph, and a CBCT or a comb beam CT. Each type of x-ray is used for different purposes and areas in the mouth.
Fortunately, dental x-rays are very safe today. The amount of radiation, which is the most common concern that patients have, has been greatly reduced while still having the same quality of image.
Dental x-rays show a number of different conditions that can happen in the mouth such as cavities and periodontal disease.
If there's a significant condition and it shows on the x-ray, the likelihood of periodontal disease being present is very high. However, in addition to the x-ray, there needs to be additional information taken to make sure that there's an accurate diagnosis for periodontal disease.
A dental exam should be done in a regular interval. If you've been to your regular dentist and everything is healthy, then you're going to be sticking with your regular plan. If you haven't visited the dentist in the last six months to a year, or if there's no current plan in place, it's crucial to schedule a dental exam. This proactive approach allows us to address any potential issues before they escalate into more significant problems. Dental X-rays can often reveal signs that closely resemble periodontal disease. When we analyze the X-ray alone, we can often identify issues with a high degree of certainty. However, during your examination, we'll conduct additional clinical assessments to confirm the diagnosis. I hope these videos have answered many of the questions you may have had about dental X-rays.
If you have any additional questions or are ready to take an exam with us, please give us a call at (850) 909-9731.