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8024 La Mesa Blvd. La Mesa, CA 91942

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A Guide to Understanding the Value of Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays may be necessary every year, but you might need to get them more frequently as a means to help treat an ongoing dental problem. We know many patients are afraid of the potential side effects of x-rays, but we would like to emphasize that they are safe.

You can learn more about the official American Dental Association recommendations in another article we published a while back or on the ADA webpage.

Keep in mind some of the factors that will affect the frequency with which we recommend our younger patients to get their dental x-rays:

  • Age
  • Current Oral Health
  • Symptoms of Oral Disease
  • Gums bleeding
  • Hypersensitivity

When you switch dentists, they will probably ask for x-rays to get a clearer picture when formulating your treatment, especially if you have a history of previous oral health complications like gingivitis or tooth decay. If there are no x-rays in your history from your last dentist, you should also be prepared to get new images.

A specialist in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics like Dr. Surillo will request children get their dental x-rays more often because the team will want to monitor the patient’s dental development and prevent severe complications during the patient’s teen years.

Types of Dental X-Rays Available

The good news is that you can get the advanced imaging you need right here. So you don’t have to worry about tedious trips to another place when you require dental x-rays for your treatment. There are various types of x-rays used in our profession:

  • Bitewing. The patient will have to bite down on a piece of paper to help the dentist check how the tooth crowns match up, but they may also help check for cavities between teeth.
  • Panoramic. A household name. A machine will rotate around the patient’s head, and they give a full view of your mouth. A dentist might use these to check for wisdom teeth or investigate jaw problems.
  • Periapical. This type of imaging focuses on a single tooth revealing everything from root to crown. A dentist might require one of these to determine if your tooth needs a root canal after some trauma.
  • Occlusal. A dentist will use this to check a patient’s teeth’ alignment or any abnormalities with their palate development.

One of our Dental Assistants will guide you through the process and provide you with some protective gear when necessary. Remember to hold still during the process. It will be over before you know it.

Important Innovations

Newer machines allow the capture of digital imaging instead of needing to develop x-ray films. These images are reviewed directly on a screen, stored, shared between specialists, and sent to the patient.

Besides, these newer technologies require less radiation while providing several advantages to professionals and patients alike. The doses of radiation you get from dental x-rays are minimal; try not to worry as there is still no clear relation between these x-rays and increased health risks.

Understanding Your Dental X-Rays

X-rays allow anyone to see hard tissues, such as your teeth and bones. The gums, lips, nerves, and other soft tissues remain invisible, allowing a trained eye to differentiate between normal teeth and diseased dental structures.

Any healthy tooth appears as a continuous shape with a well-defined edge in an x-ray. However, if a patient’s teeth suffer from any decay, you will see dark spots around the tooth’s edge. If the patient has neglected to floss or otherwise cleaned their teeth well, it’s possible that harmful bacteria began eroding the outer layers of their teeth and entered the dentin.

Detecting this type of decay is vital to helping your kid’s teeth on time and avoiding infections that may result in tooth loss. Interdental cavities are easy to spot in a dental x-ray because they look like dark spots around the teeth. Just ask your dentist to explain what they see on-screen to learn more about identifying abnormalities.

The principle behind dental x-rays is to show hard, mineralized structures. Bacteria erode those mineralized layers around your teeth, so if you are wondering why there are dark spots in an x-ray, it is because there is no hard, mineralized surface in that region, possibly signifying tooth decay.

You can also spot incoming teeth when your kid is still losing primary teeth. A trained professional can determine problems with a patient’s jaw alignment and impacted teeth.

What About the Cost?

Dental x-ray equipment is by no means cheap, but you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for the x-rays you need. When you come to Dr. Surillo’s Children’s Braces and Dentistry, you can ask about the dental insurance providers we work with. Many of them include dental x-rays as part of your coverage.

We are happy to provide you with any information you need to determine your treatment’s final cost. Make sure to ask all the questions you have so you make the best decision you can.

Call ahead or set your appointment online. We hope to see you soon!