The Value of X-Rays
Dental x-rays are pictures of teeth and gums used to see inside your teeth, the roots of your teeth or the bone that surrounds them. Dental x-rays at Walnut Ranch Dental Spa are used as a diagnostic as well as a preventative tool and are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan.
X-rays allow us to:
- Find cavities, tooth decay and damage to the bones supporting the teeth
- Look at the tooth roots
- Check the health of the bony area around the tooth
- Determine if periodontal disease is an oral care issue
- See the status of developing teeth
- Monitor good tooth health through prevention
- Find teeth that are not in the right place or do not break through the gum properly
- Find cysts, solid growths (tumors), or abscesses
- Plan treatment for large or extensive cavities, root canal surgery, placement of dental implants, and difficult tooth removals
Walnut Ranch offers these types of x-rays:
- Bitewing X-rays,
- taken during most routine dental visits, can show cavities starting to develop between your teeth, as well as bone loss due to gum (periodontal) disease.
- Periapical X-rays
- are used to find dental problems below the gum line or in the jaw, such as impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts, tumors, and bone changes linked to some diseases.
- Occlusal X-rays
- show the roof or floor of the mouth and are used to find extra teeth, teeth that have not yet broken through the gums, jaw fractures, a cleft in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate), cysts, abscesses, or growths.
- Panoramic X-rays
- show the entire mouth area — all the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws — on a single x-ray. This x-ray detects the position of fully emerged as well as emerging teeth.
- show a layer or “slice” of the mouth and blur out other layers. This x-ray examines structures that are difficult to clearly see because other nearby structures are blocking the view.
- Cephalometric Projections
- show an entire side of the head. This x-ray looks at the teeth in relation to the jaw and profile of the individual.
- Dental Computed Tomography (CT)
- is a type of imaging that looks at interior structures in 3-D (three dimensions). This type of imaging is used to find problems in the bones of the face such as cysts, tumors, and fractures.
- Cone Beam CT
- is a type of x-ray that creates 3-D images of dental structures, soft tissue, nerves, and bone. It helps guide tooth implant placement and evaluates cysts and tumors in the mouth and face.
- Digital Imaging
- is a 2-D type of dental imaging that allows images to be sent directly to a computer. The images can be viewed on screen, stored, or printed out in a matter of seconds. Digital imaging has several advantages compared with traditional x-rays. The image taken of a tooth, for example, can be enhanced and enlarged. This makes it easier for your dentist to see the tiniest changes that can’t be seen in an oral exam.
- is an imaging method that takes a 3-D view of the oral cavity including jaw and teeth. (This is ideal for soft tissue evaluation.)
How often should you get dental X-rays?
Walnut Ranch Dental Spa recommends the following for people who have no tooth decay and are not at high risk of getting cavities:
- Adults should have bitewing X-rays every 2 to 3 years
- Teens should have bitewing X-rays every 1½ to 3 years
- Children should have bitewing X-rays every 1 to 2 years
For people who have tooth decay or are at high risk of getting cavities:
- Adults should have bitewing X-rays every 6 months to 1½ years
- Children and teens should have bitewing X-rays every 6 to 12 months