Dentists are faced with a minor disadvantage when it comes to what they can see, with their own eyes, within a patient’s mouth. Thankfully, dental technology has become so advanced in the last couple of decades that dentists now have the complete ability to analyze the structure of a patients mouth, and it’s all because of x-rays. Dentists use x-rays to prevent, diagnose and treat potential complications before they become more significant issues. The following blog will discuss what x-rays can see and why they are imperative for your oral health:


X-rays, also referred to as radiographs, aid your family dentist by allowing them to examine your teeth, the crevices in between your teeth and even inside of your teeth. X-rays permit your dentist to see underneath your gums, which would be impossible without modern dental instruments. Your dentist will use the results of your radiograph to determine if there are outstanding cavities or decay that has not yet been addressed. Radiographs performed by your family dentist will ensure that your wisdom teeth are not going to erupt or cause complications. Cysts, which are sacs of infectious bacteria, tend to settle near the roots of your teeth and are nearly impossible to notice with the human eye and therefore, dentists use X-rays to spot the abscesses.


X-rays are safe for children and adults, and although they do utilize waves of radiation, the levels of radiation produced are so low there is virtually no risk involved. To ensure your safety is prioritized, your dentist will place a large x-ray apron to cover your torso to protect your vital organs. Women that are, or believe they are, pregnant should wait until after childbirth to undergo radiography.


Forms of X-Rays


  • Bitewing: This x-ray requires that you bite down on a specialized paper to help your family dentist see how your crowns line up with each other. This kind of radiography will help dentists identify interdental cavities.
  • Panoramic: This x-ray will spin around your head, and they will help your dentist identify potential issues with your wisdom teeth, it will help them with preparation for dental implants, and examine jaw damage.
  • Occlusal: This x-ray will capture the entirety of your mouth, and it will help your family dentist see how your top and bottom teeth align.

If there are any inconsistencies on the bottom of your mouth or your palate, and occlusal x-rays will help a dentist spot them.

  • Periapical: This x-ray concentrates on two individual teeth and shows the composition of the tooth from root to crown. 

How Often Do I Need X-Rays?


The frequency which you have x-rays done is dependent on your current condition. New patients may be required to take an x-ray so that your family dentist will be able to inspect and investigate the condition of your teeth, gums and jaw. The older you are and the more frequent you attend dental appointments, the less of a need x-rays will become for you.