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What are Radiographs? 

By Sasha Curry

In the world of medicine, dentistry included, much of what we know and accept as patients are at the discretion of our respective medical experts.

After all, there is a reason we use the phrase, ‘doctors orders’. 

Let’s say you break a bone; it’s widely accepted that you visit a medical professional, receive a diagnosis, and proceed accordingly. 

Whether it’s a surgery to reinforce the broken bone, a cast to keep things in place, or somewhere in between, in most cases we know how to approach the injury. In some instances, we need a closer look.

One way to do so? For one, radiographs , or as they are more commonly referred to, x-rays.

To follow up with the example of a broken bone, most of us know and accept that an x-ray is almost always necessary.

So, what purpose does radiography serve in the practice of dentistry? And, why is it important for improving and maintaining your oral health?

Why are radiographs important for oral health?

Dental x-rays allow for your dentist to observe, and then of course treat: small areas of decay between teeth, decay underneath fillings, cysts and other types of tumors, bone loss in the jaw due to periodontal disease, abscesses, and the position of teeth in order to establish what kind of braces, dentures, or tooth implants would be best suited for your teeth.

How often are dental radiographs performed?

Simply put, each patient will require a different course of action depending on the state of their oral health. If you happen to have been recently diagnosed with some kind of gum disease, it’s possible that you may need dental x-rays every six months until a treatment plan has been introduced and executed. However, if you have no existing oral health complications that require monitoring and/or intervention, it’s more likely that you will only need dental radiography every couple of years.

In the case of a new patient, even if you’ve recently had your x-rays done, a new dentist may suggest a panoramic x-ray to get a closer look into the state of your oral health. 

What types of dental radiographs are there, and what are each of them meant to determine?

Of the radiographic practices in dentistry, the most common types that you will come across are:

  • Bitewing
  • Periapical
  • Panoramic

What are each of the different types of x-rays used for?

  • Bitewing x-rays are used to determine the presence and location of early decay between the back teeth or bicuspids (the teeth in front of the molars).
  • Periapical x-rays are used when your dentist is looking to take a closer look at a single tooth - allowing for a more accurate diagnosis and improving subsequent treatment. 
  • Panoramic x-rays provide your dental expert with a single image of your entire mouth. This particular form of radiograph is taken from the outside of your mouth - helping to identify “issues like cysts, jaw disorders, or bone irregularities”.

Other types of dental x-rays you may encounter are occlusal x-rays, cephalometric x-rays, and cone-beam computed tomography.

Well, that’s it for today's lesson on all things dental radiography.

At M Street, we stand by your oral health, and more importantly, your health in general. We take pride in offering personalized, supportive, and professional care, to each of our clients. 

Whether you’re a new patient to us, or have been coming back for years, keeping your oral health at its very best is our priority. With a wide wide variety of first-class treatments and care plans, we can promise you’re in great hands. 

If you have any questions in need of answers or are looking to explore any of our available services, we’d love to hear from you.

So, book yourself an appointment today. You and your smile deserve the very best there is!

From all of us at M Street,

Stay smiling!

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