Dental X-Rays for Prevention or DiagnosisA dental x-ray is a common tool used by a dentist during a routine dental checkup for preventative purposes or to help them diagnose an oral problem. There are several types of dental x-rays, each done for a different reason.
For instance, a bitewing x-ray is usually taken annually and is used by dentists in, one, detecting dental caries between the teeth and, two, in examining the bone level that supports the teeth.
What is a Periapical X-Ray?
On the other hand, a periapical x-ray or PA involves taking a full image of a tooth from the crown to the root tip and is, therefore, necessary when symptoms affect a particular tooth. A PA can tell your dentist if a tooth is abscessed, has severe decay or abnormal supporting bone structure.
What is an Occlusal X-Ray?
An occlusal x-ray is a special type of dental x-ray done on the roof of the mouth to show if there are any problems in this area such as tumors, extra teeth, impacted teeth and other abnormalities.
Upon viewing the image your dentist or orthodontist will recommend that you have a panoramic x-ray for certain dental treatments like braces and oral surgery such as wisdom teeth extraction.
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Dental X-Rays Emit Little Radiation
A common concern about dental x-rays is one’s exposure to radiation. While dental x-ray procedures emit very little radiation, state regulations nevertheless are very strict about keeping exposure to a minimum. Inspections are performed by regulating bodies to ensure the public health and safety.
However, pregnant women are strongly advised not to have a dental x-ray unless they absolutely have to and they have the approval of their dentist or doctor.
Federal Guidelines for Dental X-Rays
Federal guidelines recommend having a posterior bitewing x-ray every 1 to 2 years and every 2 to 3 years for children and adults, respectively, who have no evident clinical tooth decay or risk of decay. However, children and adults with obvious clinical decay or have a great risk of decay should have a posterior bitewing x-ray every 6 to 12 months.