Get the Big Picture on Dental X-rays

Big Picture on Dental X-RaysIf you’re preparing to see a dentist in the New Holland, PA area, and are wondering if you’ll need x-rays, here’s a quick review of the standard dental x-ray protocol:

  • Bitewing x-rays- This is a series of images that typically includes 4-7 pictures of your back teeth. Bitewing x-rays help the dentist to check for cavities and defects that involve the spaces between the teeth. These x-rays also show the height of the bone that surrounds each of the teeth. Bone loss, boney defects, and the margins of existing fillings or crowns can be seen on bitewing images. This x-ray series is typically needed once or twice each year.
  • Panoramic x-ray- This is one image which captures all of the teeth and roots as well as the upper and lower jaw bones and joints. This image provides the dentist with a broad overview of the teeth and jaws, but does not typically provide as much detail as other types of x-rays. The panoramic image is often used to evaluate the wisdom teeth, the nerve pathways in the jaws, and in planning for dental implants. Panoramic x-rays are typically recommended every 3-5 years.
  • Periapical x-rays- Single x-ray images of 1 or more teeth are used when it is necessary to closely evaluate the entire tooth, from crown to root. These images are often required when you are experiencing a problem with a specific tooth, such as an abscess or toothache. The dentist may also use this type of x-ray during a root canal procedure or to evaluate a dental implant post. Periapical x-rays can be taken at any time as needed.

Today’s dental x-rays are generally taken in a digital format which requires very little radiation, and these images are often a critical part of the examination and diagnosis process. If it’s time for you to have a checkup and you haven’t had dental x-rays taken within the last year, contact a dentist in New Holland, PA to schedule your next visit.