Dentist In Portland, OR
Dental radiography is a diagnostic tool that we use to diagnose a wide variety of different conditions. While the term may not be familiar to you, you have likely had dental radiography done before. That is because dental radiography is simply the technical term for x-rays. If you have had x-rays done at Pacific Woods Dental before, then you already know what to expect. If you have not, here are some of the basics of dental radiography and why it is used.
WHAT IS DENTAL RADIOGRAPHY?
Dental radiography uses x-rays to create an image of your bones and teeth. X-rays use very small amounts of radiation in order to do so, but it is harmless. New digital x-ray technology uses even lower amounts of radiation, reducing any potential side effects even more. In dentistry, there are three types of radiographs or photos that we may need to take in order to get a clear picture of your oral health.
Periapical radiographs focus on your teeth and allow us to see if any teeth are damaged or have cavities. Panoramic x-rays create a larger image of your mouth and jaw. This helps to see how the teeth are positioned and the overall health of your jawbone. The third type of radiographs are cephalometric or ceph x-rays. The images created by this type of radiography shows your entire head from the side. They are used when diagnosing bite issues and jaw alignment problems.
WHEN IS DENTAL RADIOGRAPHY NECESSARY?
Dental radiography is necessary any time we suspect there is an issue with your jaw, bite, teeth alignment, or other concern that cannot be easily diagnosed with a visual exam. Unlike some areas of the body, there are many parts of your mouth that cannot be seen with the eye. X-rays and other imaging tools, then, are the only way we have of diagnosing some conditions.
WHY ARE DIGITAL X-RAYS DONE AT DENTAL CLEANINGS?
We do not do x-rays at every dental cleaning , but we do recommend having them done once a year. We do this to make certain you do not have any developing conditions with the parts of the mouth we cannot see. These annual x-rays are a preventative measure that helps us keep an eye on your overall oral health and diagnose problems as they develop.
WHO NEEDS DENTAL RADIOGRAPHY SERVICES?
In addition to getting an x-ray annually, there are a number of other times when you may need dental radiography done. We may need to do an x-ray before certain dental procedures or to determine the best course of treatment. For example, we may need to take an x-ray before we place dental implants to make certain your jawbone is dense enough to support the posts. We also often do x-rays following accidents to determine the extent of the trauma to your jaw and teeth. X-rays are also common in some follow-up appointments to make certain your body is healing correctly.
While adults should have x-rays done annually, young children need to have them done more often, especially when their adult teeth begin coming in. This helps us see if their adult teeth are growing in correctly. If they are not, we may have to extract a baby tooth to allow the adult tooth to position itself as it should.
If you have not had x-rays in over a year or if you would like to know more about the dental x-ray process, contact Pacific Woods Dental at 503-292-5483 to make an appointment.