Home Dental Care Dental X-Rays: What are they? Why do I Have To Use Them?

Dental X-Rays: What are they? Why do I Have To Use Them?


The idea of taking X-rays may be daunting however they are essential. When visiting your dentist, whether to check up on a routine visit or for a dental issue there is a good chance they’ll need to look beyond the visible components of your mouth to the teeth and bones. Dental X-rays are a great way to get an image of what’s happening “inside” your mouth prior to the onset of any indications. Let’s take a look at the article to find out more about dental X-rays, their various types of them and whether we require them.

Important takeaways

  • Dental X-rays offer images of teeth and other oral structures that are beyond what our eyes can perceive.
  • Dental X-rays are able to detect issues such as dental cavities, fractures cysts, loss of bone and tumors, as well as impacted teeth. They also aid in treatments and monitoring.
  • Dental X-rays are safe, and emit only minimal radiation. Thus, children, adults and pregnant women can undergo dental X-rays -taking safety precautions and under the supervision of a dentist.
  • Different types of dental Xrays serve different purposes. A dentist will discuss choices and select which one best fits your requirements.

How do dental X-rays help?

Dental X-rays allow visualizing the dental structures like how doctors utilize X-rays for checking the internal health for injuries. Dentists recommend X-rays to identify a possible oral illness — either as an aid to prevent it or determine the root of an existing dental issueas a tool for therapy. In addition, they may utilize dental X-rays to assess the progression of ongoing dental treatments such as roots canals (RCTs) braces and implants. Here are a few particular oral ailments for which an X-ray may help.

The process of detecting cavities

When it is at its earliest stages usually begins below the surface of the tooth and is often hidden. As the process progresses, nerves become involved at which point patients typically experience pain in their teeth. In fact, it’s the only symptom that occurs sometimes. Dental X-rays will pinpoint the origin and extent of cavitiesaiding dentists to develop an appropriate treatment strategy.

Abscesses and dental cysts

Abscesses and dental cysts can arise from an cause for infection (infected teeth, severe cavity or even trauma) and are usually located in the jaw bone and gums. Dental X-rays assist in diagnosing cysts as well as identifying the problem teeth that cause the cysts.

Wisdom teeth have been damaged by an impact

In the event that your third molars haven’t been erupted at a sufficient age or have only partially eruption-free, the dentist could need to determine if they’re aligned and if they cause problems. Dental X-rays are a part of wisdom teeth assessment and can help determine whether or not they’ll erupt and require surgical removal.

Gum and jaw abnormalities

Periodontitis (severe gum issues) is often associated with loss of bone below the gum lines, and therefore warrants an X-ray. X-rays are a sole method to determine the severity and frequency that jaw bones are losingin the case of. Additionally, issues like jaw discomfort, joint dislocations as well as popping and clicking noises in jaw joints can be diagnosed by dental X-rays.

Tooth fractures and extractions

If you’ve fractured the tooth with the hard surface of a food item most likely the tooth has broken halfway. The thin fracture lines, oft not visible to the naked eyes, can be seen clearly when you look at An images. While all teeth do not require an X-ray to remove them however, your dentist might recommend taking one in the event of premolars and molars. Teeth that are infected and badly damaged may break in the process of extraction require radiographs prior to removal.

Monitoring and planning treatments

Teeth that are crooked, jaws that are not aligned or teeth that require implants require dental X-rays. The dentist will determine an appropriate treatment strategy after analyzing findings from X-rays as well as other diagnostic instruments. If you’re undergoing an RCT the dentist could require regular X-rays in order to observe the progress of treatment and ensure that the treatment is performing according to plan.

Teeth that are retained in kids

Children frequently have loose milk teeth that are unable to show even when permanent teeth appear. Dental X-rays can determine whether teeth are likely to disappear by themselves or require treatment.

Dental X-rays: Different types

There are a variety of dental X-rays. Learn about the various kinds, their distinctive attributes, and their purpose.

  • Bitewing. Used to examine the lower and upper teeth to determine how they are positioned. They are useful for detecting interproximal cavity (cavities in the areas where two adjacent teeth meet) and the loss of bone between teeth as well as routine checks. Your dentist will suggest to obtain a set bitewings to take an image of all the teeth.
  • Periapical. Also called intraoral periapical (IOPA) and they look at the entire tooth, including crown, root and all. This kind of X-ray permits dentists to observe the bone’s structure around the roots, and also to identify infections and cysts that are linked to the tooth. Root canal therapy is often required frequent IOPAs to ensure the success of.
  • Occlusal. These take a image of the lower and upper jaws. They can identify issues in the mouth, such as large dental cavities, teeth that have been impacted as well as cysts and tumors.
  • panoramic. Used to capture the entire mouth, which includes all teeth, the upper and lower jaws, as well as the surrounding tissues. They can also help in the treatment of wisdom tooth problems, TMJ issues, jawbone fractures and even large tumors.
  • Orthopantomographs. Also called OPGs which are X-rays that provide an angle of the dental structures and aid orthodontists in achieving jaw and tooth alignment.
  • Cone Beam CT Scan. This imaging technique produces 3D images of jawbone, teeth and other facial characteristics. It are used to create intricate dental procedures, such as dental implant inserts. Also known as CBCTs they can identify oral cancer, particularly when it has taken hold of in the jawbone.

The frequency of dental Xrays

Dental X-rays, while important however, they are not required at every dental appointment. The frequency of Xrays can vary according to your personal dental health requirements.

As per the American Dental Association (ADA) individuals with excellent oral health but no apparent dental issues are able to have an X-ray performed each two year. However, those who are at a high risk for dental cavities, poor oral health or oral health issues could require X-rays every year. In addition, children may need X-rays more often than adults due to the fact that their jaws and teeth are still developing which means that their teeth could be susceptible to decay.

Security of dental X-rays

Although dental X-rays can be generally harmless, they do expose the patient to a small amount of radiation. But, to put things in perspective, radiation from an X-ray of the dental is comparable to the radiation that you receive everyday from your surroundings like rocks, soil or waters (background radiation).

Dentists are educated to understand radiation mechanics, dosages and X-ray machines in order to make sure that they are safe. The American Dental Association (ADA) ensures dentists follow the As-Low-As-Reasonably-Achievable (ALARA) rule while taking X-rays. Additionally, dentists make use of protective equipment to minimize radiation exposure. For example, thyroid collars and lead aprons protect organs and body parts that are sensitive which are directly in the path of the X-ray beam. A dental radiologist is the most qualified person to assist you deal with radiation-related issues. Your dentist is also able to help you overcome this.

Speak with an oral radiologist for help to conquer anxieties

Speak with your dentist if you’re worried about radiation exposure from dental X-rays. Your dentist can discuss the benefits and potential risks of X-rays and assist you in making a decision.

Dental X-rays are a popular diagnostic tool dentists employ to determine the condition of your teeth gums, jawbone, and gums. Based on the specifics of your dental health and condition the dentist will decide the type of X-ray needed. It is important to recognize a health issue in its early stagesnot when it’s beyond repair. Talk with your dentist regarding any issues and determine whether you should adhere to their recommendations regarding dental X-rays.


Are dental Xrays safe for pregnant women?

Yes the dental X-rays can be innocuous during pregnancy. However, the growing fetus is susceptible to radiation that is repeated. It is therefore recommended to tell your dentist that you are expecting. The dentist will determine if the X-rays should be scheduled till after your first trimester.

What is the need for dental X-rays?

The requirement for a dental X-ray differs from individual to individual based on their oral health and risk assessment, prior medical history, and the age. Dental professionals should recommend that you undergo an X-ray only if the advantages outweigh the risks. If you are concerned discuss the issue with your dentist to discuss alternatives and options, and then take a shrewd decision.

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How expensive are dental X-rays?

The price of dental X-rays can vary based on the type of Xray used and the area you live in. On average, one X-ray could cost between $20 to $250. Costs can be higher when you require multiple images or an CBCT. It is essential to speak with your dentist about the cost of X-rays prior to your appointment in case they are in a position to give you an estimate.


  1. USFDA. The selection of patients for dental Radiographic Exams.
  2. The Journal of the American Dental Association. Dental x-rays.
  3. ADA. Xrays/Radiographs.



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