Using X-Rays To Detect Dental Decay
Annually updated dental X-rays are recommended for all dental patients for the detection of all sorts of dental problems. Tooth decay on the chewing surfaces, biting surfaces, front, or back sides of the teeth can usually be detected by your dentist visually or with an exam tool. Other, hidden areas of decay may be impossible to see and will remain un-diagnosed without the use of X-rays.
Bitewing X-rays are used to see the contact areas between the teeth. Mainly used for the premolars and molars, bitewing X-rays are an irreplaceable tool when detecting interproximal decay. The anterior teeth (canine to canine) usually require the use of a periapical X-rays due to the limited amount of space in the anterior portion of the mouth. A periapical X-ray shows the crown, root structure, and interproximal surfaces of a tooth.
A periapical X-ray is also necessary for the diagnosis of an abscess at the apex or end of the root. An abscess is caused from bacteria that has entered the tooth and has been able to move into the nerve canal of a tooth, ultimately showing up on an X-ray as a radiolucency (dark spot) at the end of the root tip. The treatment for a periapical abscess is to have a root canal treatment, which removes the nerve and all bacteria from the inside of the tooth.
X-rays will also show decay forming under existing fillings, the bone levels around teeth, and will allow the dentist to see the unerupted teeth that are forming in adolescents.
Ultimately, it is the patient’s choice to have X-rays completed or not. Patients should be educated as to the importance of yearly dental X-rays. Contact Artistic Smiles to discuss your concerns about the need for X-rays.