All About Dental X-Rays

In looking at technology advances over the last century, it is amazing to see how far we have come in so many areas. When I think about how dental care has progressed over the last 100 years I am amazed at the advances in diagnostic capabilities.

The modernization that x-ray equipment has made over the years has dramatically decreased the amount of exposure received during an x-ray. Digital and high-speed film and focused x-ray beams all aid in decreasing the amount of exposure received when receiving dental x-rays.

Some people wonder why they need x-rays or if they really need x-rays. The purpose of dental x-rays is to aid in the evaluation of oral health. This includes identifying areas of concern in tooth root health, tooth decay, cavities impacting teeth or other complications that can arise in your oral health. New Jersey dental x-rays are an important part of routine oral care as they help diagnose concerns before complications become more serious. If complications have become serious, make sure to contact a dentist in Middlesex NJ.

There are many types of x-rays and are classified in two categories

Extraoral focuses primarily on the jaw, joint and skull. They also help monitor the development of the jaw and help provide diagnostic assessment for conditions like TMJ. A few examples of these are a panoramic x-ray, Cephalometric, and tomogram.

Intraoral x-rays are very detailed and help your dentist discover cavities, assess root health and keep an eye on developing teeth. I’m sure you or your child have had bitewing x-rays, it’s the most common dental x-ray!

Some people need New Jersey dental x-rays as frequent as every six months while others every couple of years. If you or your child has gum disease or a medical condition that puts you at higher risk for dental decay or gum disease, x-rays will need to be taken more frequently. Also, children typically need x-rays more often to make sure normal development of the teeth is happening and to check for areas at risk of decay. It’s best to consult with a dentist in Middlesex NJ as it pertains to your case.

Dental X-Ray Safety

Some parents have concerns about the safety of x-rays. Pediatric dentists have modern safeguards in place to protect children from radiation such as lead body aprons and shields. With that being said the amount of radiation a child is exposed to during dental x-ray is very minimal to the risk of undiagnosed or untreated dental cavities and risks.

Women often have questions and concerns with dental care during pregnancy. Routine x-rays can be postponed during pregnancy but don’t have to be.  According to the ADA, if appropriate shielding is used it is considered safe to have dental x-rays during pregnancy. Also according to the American College of Radiology, a single diagnostic x-ray doesn’t produce enough radiation to cause adverse reactions to a developing embryo or fetus. Obviously, as you enter the third trimester it becomes uncomfortable to lie in a dental office chair so routine procedures, like cleanings, may need to be postponed. It is always important to discuss your concerns with your dentist and they can help you discover what your best options are for all your dental care during pregnancy.

If you have concerns about your oral health we would love to help you work through any concerns you have.  A skilled dentist in Middlesex NJ can answer any questions to help alleviate any concern or anxiety. Give us a call today!