November 26th, 2015
In 1985, German physicist Wilhelm Rontgen became the first person to discover x-rays and is credited with their important role in the medical and dental industries. His discoveries led to extensive studies and research on radiology that ultimately contributed to the development of the modern-day machines we use in medicine and dentistry today.
However, with today’s modern advanced technology, many individuals assume that dental x-rays are a thing of the past. In truth though, the use of x-rays has never been more important.
Thanks to the help of x-rays, dentists can detect and treat dental problems long before they turn into serious issues. Considering preventative care is the primary reason we visit the dentist, x-rays are essential to finding potential concerns that would otherwise go unnoticed in standard physical examinations. Some of these underlying issues include:
- Periodontal Disease
- Infections and abscesses
If left untreated, these conditions can result in painful oral issues like gum disease and recession, chronic pain and much more. In today’s era, there are two types of dental x-rays that serve a variety of purposes:
- Intraoral X-rays: These are the most common types of x-rays taken and provide your dentist with a lot of important details and information regarding possible cavities, and root and bone health. These x-rays also check the status of developing teeth like wisdom teeth, and are helpful in monitoring the general health of your teeth, gums and bones. These different types of intraoral x-rays each target different aspects of the teeth:
- Bite-wing: shows upper and lower teeth in a specific area of the mouth.
- Periapical: show the entire tooth from the crown to the end of the root.
- Occlusal: show tooth development and placement.
- Extraoral X-rays: Though these pictures show teeth, their primary purpose is to observe the welfare of the jawbone and skull, which can’t be detected by intraoral x-rays. They are vital in detecting impacted teeth or issues with the growth and development of the jaw. Extraoral x-rays can also identify any concerns between the teeth, jaw and other facial bones in relation to the teeth. Like intraoral x-rays, there are several types of extraoral machines:
- Panoramic: shows the entire mouth area including upper and lower jaws.
- Tomograms: show specific layers of the mouth.
- Cephalometric projections: show the entire side of the head including jawbone and skull.
- Sialography: shows salivary glands (after a dye injection).
- Computed tomography: shows body’s interior structure in a 3D image.
Not surprisingly, many dental patients worry about the harmful effects of x-rays and the exposure to radiation. However, there is very, very little cause for concern. Modern technology has reduced the amount of radiation levels to practically non-existent amounts.
In fact, for nearly three decades the American Dental Association has worked with dentists across the nation to ensure a patient’s exposure to radiation is as low and harmless as possible. Furthermore, there are several precautionary measures dentists can take to further reduce radiation. Things like protective aprons and collars help to deflect any rays that may be emitted by the machine.
To learn more about the benefits of dental x-rays or to schedule an appointment for a dental visit, visit Posner, Henderson and Goslee today.