Have you ever wondered why you must have new dental X-rays done year after year in addition to semi-annual cleanings? X-rays are images of your teeth, bones, and jaw that your dentist uses to identify common oral health problems. They’re absolutely vital to your oral health, but why? Today we’ll discuss four reasons why dental X-rays are a necessary part of your dental care plan.
1. Dental X-Rays Identify Cavities
Cavities are small holes in your teeth that eat away at the tooth’s enamel. Left untreated, cavities can cause considerable pain, sensitivity, decay, and even tooth loss. While surface cavities are easy to spot, small areas of decay may not be visible during an oral exam and could go unnoticed without the assistance of an X-ray. Rather than let your teeth rot, your dentists use dental X-rays to clearly identify any cavities in your teeth before considering treatment options which may include fillings or crowns.
2. Dental X-Rays Can Spot Cysts and Tumors
Your dentists also use X-rays to detect cysts, tumors, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions. Dental cysts are caused by infections that result in the pulp or inner portion of the tooth becoming infected and causing resultant decay, as well as the development of fluid-filled sacs or inflamed tissue. These cysts form around your teeth and can become infected. On the other hand, tumors can infect the bone of your teeth. Both are dangerous, and X-rays are the most effective way to identify and prevent them from forming or developing.
3. Dental X-Rays Monitor Developing Teeth
Most children will have 28 permanent adult teeth by the age of 13. However, like all things, some children will experience some delays in their tooth development. Your dentist can use X-rays to monitor developing teeth and identify the cause of any delays. These same dental X-rays can also spot any teeth that may be growing in crooked and provide an orthodontist referral. By viewing the entire structure of a patient’s teeth, bones, and jaw, dental X-Rays can provide your dentist with more detail than a regular oral exam. If there are any development programs, they can be identified and treated quickly.
On a similar note, your dentist will use X-rays to monitor the development of your third molars, also called wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth usually grow during your late teen years or early twenties. If they come in crooked, they may need to be removed.
4. Dental X-Rays Detect Bruxism
Bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding is a common medical condition characterized by a grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw. Your dentist will likely be able to see a case of bruxism after visually checking your teeth, but will use dental x-rays to look for any damage to your bones and jaw, especially if you’re experiencing discomfort or severe pain. Depending on what the images tell your dentist, they can then recommend the best form of treatment, including a mouth guard.
With all of that said, your dentists uses X-rays to identify a variety of common dental problems such as slow tooth development and cavities, in addition to checking for cysts, tumors, and other potentially dangerous health conditions. While dental X-rays can be slightly uncomfortable, if you want to improve your oral health, don’t hesitate to open up.
If it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen the dentist, call the best dentist in North Raleigh today and schedule your appointment. New patients are always welcome, and we are proud to provide dental care for your entire family. Don’t wait until you have a dental emergency, call our office today!