Why do I need X-rays?

Radiographic or X-ray examinations provide your dentist with an important tool that shows the condition of your teeth, their roots, jaw placement, and the overall composition of your facial bones.

X-rays can help determine the presence or degree of periodontal disease, abscesses, and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors. X- rays also can show the exact location of impacted and unerupted teeth. They can pinpoint the location of cavities and other signs of disease that may not be possible to detect through a visual examination.

Do all patients have radiographs taken every six months?

No. Your radiographic schedule is based on the assessment of your individual needs, including whether you're a new patient or a recall patient, adult or child, or pregnant. In most cases, new patients require a set of full mouth X-rays to evaluate oral health status, including any, underlying signs of periodontal disease and for future comparison. Recall patients may require X-rays to monitor their periodontal condition or their susceptibility to tooth decay.

What is a "panoramic radiograph?"

Just as a panoramic photograph allows you to see a broad vista such as the Grand Canyon, a panoramic radiograph allows me to see the entire structure of your mouth in a single image. Typically, most dental patients have "periapical" or "bitewing" radiographs taken. These require patients to hold or bite down on a piece of plastic with X-ray film in the center. Bitewings typically determine the presence of decay in between teeth, while periapical X-rays show root structure, bone levels, cysts and abscesses.

Why do I need both types of X-rays?

What's apparent through one type of X- ray often is not visible on another. The panoramic X-ray will give a general and comprehensive view of your entire mouth on a single film, which a periapical X-ray cannot show.

On the other hand, periapical or bitewing X-rays show a highly-detailed image of a smaller area, making iteasier to see decay or cavities between your teeth. Radiographs are not prescribed indiscriminately.  There is a need for the different information that each radiograph can provide to formulate a diagnosis.

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