One of the laboratory tests which your dentist will ask you to take is a dental x-ray. But what can a dental x-ray do and what are the important things that every patient has to do about dental x-rays?
Why are dental x-rays necessary?
Dental x-rays are used in order to detect the early stages of cavity formation. Cavities develop at a very slow rate, and it’s possible for dentists to not even notice that there is a budding cavity that is starting to form because of how small they often start at. And it’s also possible for the decay to start just below the gums which your dentist can easily miss. In order to help your dentist identify cavities, especially the ones which are small enough to still benefit from dental filling treatments, your dentist can ask you to get a dental x-ray.
Also, if you have malocclusions due to overcrowding of teeth or gaps in between teeth, your dentist can best isolate the root cause of the problem through dental x-rays. This is because your dentist can spot teeth which have not yet erupted and are stuck below the gum line which could be causing the improper movement of teeth or even pain in the case of an impacted wisdom tooth.
How frequently can you get dental x-rays?
If you are a new patient, it’s often routine for your dentist to ask you to have a dental x-ray to kick things off. However, once you get settled in with your new dentist and your records become complete, your dentist can safely recommend you to go for a dental x-ray every six to 24 months as depending on the dental condition, your history, age and other related factors.
How safe are dental x-rays?
While the amount of radiation which you receive when getting dental x-rays is minimal, it’s still important for patients to be well-protected while x-rays are being taken. This includes wearing a lead apron in order to deflect some of the radiation. This is especially important if the patient is pregnant although dentists will usually refrain from asking an expectant mother to go on dental x-rays.
However, the amount of radiation can add up throughout the day so don’t be surprised if your dentist leaves the room during the actual taking of the x-ray. This is only to protect him or her, and the rest of the staff from overexposure to radiation.
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