Why do dentists need x-rays of our teeth and jaw?

Why do we use dental x-rays?

In the last week at Danson Park Dental Practice I had at least two patients who seemed shocked and even slightly aggrieved when I mentioned that they required a dental x-ray. Their reaction surprised me and made me think that a blog about why dentists use dental x-rays might be useful for my patients across Bexleyheath and Kent.

Dental x-rays are a vital tool for dentists. They help us to see diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissue that cannot be viewed with the naked eye. X-rays help us pinpoint dental problems early in their development – making them less painful and less expensive to treat.

What problems can dental x-rays detect?

In adults, x-rays can be used to:

• Show areas of decay that may not be visible with an oral examination, especially small areas of decay between teeth
• Identify decay occurring beneath an existing filling
• Reveal bone loss that accompanies gum disease
• Highlight bone loss around existing dental implants
• Reveal changes in the bone or in the root canal resulting from infection
• Assist in the preparation of tooth implants, braces or dentures
• Reveal an abscess, which is an infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth
• Show other developmental abnormalities, such as cysts and some types of tumours

As well as being useful for checking for decay in children’s teeth, x-rays can also be used to determine if there is enough space in the mouth to fit the adult teeth or whether the primary teeth are being lost quickly enough to allow permanent teeth to erupt properly. They are also useful for checking the development of wisdom teeth and identifying if the teeth are impacted (unable to emerge through the gums).

How often should I require a dental x-ray?

Some people may need x-rays as often as every six months but the frequency usually depends on your medical and dental history and the current condition of your mouth. Patients with no recent dental or gum disease and who visit us regularly may only require an x-ray every two years or more.

New patients often have x-rays taken at their first appointment to check the condition of their teeth, enable the early detection of decay and to check for possible root or bone problems that might be hidden.

People who fall into a high-risk category may need x-rays taken more frequently. These patients include smokers and those with gum disease and oral health conditions, such as dry mouth.

How safe are dental x-rays?

The level of radiation from a dental x-rays is extremely small, lower than levels found naturally in some areas. However, at Danson Park, we like to keep risks to a minimum and will only use x-rays only when medically necessary.

Pregnant women can still have dental x-rays if they are needed but please let us know if you are pregnant before any x-rays are taken.

Dentist Bexleyheath

If you need a dentist appointment, please don’t hesitate about contacting us. We pride ourselves on giving you the first-class care you need to keep your smile happy and healthy. You can book online via our contact form for a dentist appointment in Bexleyheath or call us on 020 8303 3726.