Dental X-rays can sound like a scary experience indicative of something wrong with your mouth. In reality, dental X-rays are a regular part of basic dental maintenance that can help your dentist identify and treat minor oral health concerns before they progress into more serious ones. Dental X-rays in our Greer, SC office are quick, painless, and, most importantly, safe for most people, including children. Before scheduling your next routine dental exam with the trusted Carraway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry team, you should know how dental X-rays could benefit your long-term oral health.
What Do Dental X-Rays Show?
A dental X-ray during your bi-annual check-up may seem a bit unnecessary. However, dental X-rays are a common procedure that is essential to preventing and treating both minor and extensive oral health concerns. Dental X-rays, also known as radiographs, are images captured with low levels of radiation to show the dentist what is happening beneath the surface of your teeth and gums. They are critical in properly diagnosing many dental diseases, including tooth decay, periodontal disease, and impacted teeth.
For children, dental X-rays help the dentist have a clear look at:
- The development of cavities
- Impacted teeth
- If wisdom teeth are present and/or moving
- If there is ample space available for permanent teeth to emerge properly
For adults, dental X-rays can show the dentist:
- The development and location of tooth decay
- Decay beneath dental work, such as fillings
- The progression of bone loss
- Abscesses and cysts
- Some oral cancers
- Changes in the root canal
What Are the Different Types of Dental X-Rays?
There are two primary types of dental X-rays that allow the dentist to see the inside of your teeth, gums, and oral cavity, as well as the bones of your jaw and skull.
Intraoral X-rays focus on the inside of the mouth. These include:
- Bitewing X-rays
- Periapical X-rays
- Occlusal X-rays
Extraoral X-rays are used to identify problems in a person’s jaw and skull. These include:
- Panoramic X-rays
- Cephalometric projections
- Digital imaging
- Cone beam CT
- MRI imaging
Who Needs Dental X-Rays & Are They Required?
While oral exams are an effective way to identify signs of many common dental problems, they are sometimes inadequate at allowing the dentist to see how exactly how extensive the concern is. This is where dental X-rays come in handy. Dentists can find and treat oral health concerns in their earliest stages because they have a closer view of the mouth. Because of this, dental X-rays are critical to avoiding more complicated problems later on that can cause you more pain, be more expensive to resolve, and may impact your overall dental health.
As with any oral health procedure, you are not required to have a dental X-ray performed during your dental exam. However, dental X-rays are a tool that can greatly improve and protect the health and well-being of your smile. By skipping dental X-rays, you could be more likely to experience a dental problem that could have been diagnosed and treated quickly and easily.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
Dental X-rays are a regular part of diagnostic dental care and are safe for people of all ages. Dental X-rays do involve radiation, but only a very low dose, using only a fraction of what you may experience in other medical imaging procedures. To ensure that your dental X-ray procedure is as safe as possible, our experienced team takes as few dental X-rays as necessary. Additionally, we provide leaded coverings to protect areas of your upper body from radiation exposure.
I’m Pregnant. Can I Still Get Dental X-Rays?
Oral health is important during every phase of life, especially during pregnancy. While this is true, you should avoid dental X-rays during pregnancy to protect against radiation exposure. In some circumstances, a dental X-ray may be more beneficial than risky for pregnant women, including during a dental emergency or urgent dental treatment.
Poor oral health, such as gum disease, can negatively impact your prenatal health and your baby’s well-being. For these reasons, it’s imperative that you make good oral hygiene habits a priority during your entire pregnancy and let your dentist know if you are expecting a baby. If the dentist does recommend X-rays during your pregnancy, you will wear a leaded apron and a thyroid collar.
How Often Do I Need to Get Dental X-Rays?
There is no set schedule for how often a person should have a dental X-ray performed. Generally speaking, it’s good to have a dental X-ray administered once a year to monitor the condition of your teeth and gums. X-rays are especially important if you have a complicated dental history or are at risk of developing oral health problems. Depending on the health and condition of your mouth, we can perform X-rays as frequently as every six months or as infrequently as every 2-3 years.
Some factors that could lead to your dentist encouraging you to have a dental X-ray include:
- Oral health history
- Signs of dental disease
- Current oral health diagnosis
Protect Your Smile Today
Dental X-rays in Greer, SC play a vital role in keeping your oral health as healthy and strong as possible. We are proud to use the latest in progressive dental technology to ensure your comfort and safety when undergoing any dental procedure. Contact us at 864.268.7812 to learn more about how dental X-rays could benefit you in our Greer, SC office. You can also schedule your next dental exam with Dr. Carraway online. We look forward to helping you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile for a lifetime!