Eighty percent of decay occurs between the teeth. If a visual exam is done alone you miss 80 percent of potential decay. An X-ray can also show what’s under a tooth crown, for example. Other X-rays are used to examine the tooth root, or the jaw and supporting structures.
Who should have them?
If you have previously seen another dentist, a fresh set of X-rays will give your new practitioner a complete picture of your teeth and gums. Your previous records and x-rays can be requested. A new set of X-rays will make future changes easier to spot because you’ll have the initial set for comparison. But you may not need X-rays every time you have a checkup, especially if you don’t tend to have many cavities.
Children, on the other hand, have different oral care needs: A child tends to have thinner tooth enamel than an adult. This is due to the fact that their jaws are still growing and their teeth are still developing. Due to this, a child may need more frequent X-rays than their parents, especially if they have a history of cavities. If you miss a series of X-rays on a child with a high decay rate, you’re going to end up with some serious problems.
Are there different types of X-rays?
Yes, There are various different types of x-rays. The first is a bitewing x-ray. A bitewing x-ray is used to detect or confirm decay in teeth as well as help to assess the presence of gum disease between teeth.
A Periapical film otherwise known in dental terms as a PA. A PA x-ray shows the entire tooth, tooth roots, and the surrounding bone. These images are used to examine root tips of teeth, diagnose bone loss due to gum disease, diagnosing cysts and abscesses as well as detecting inflammation of bone due to infections within the root canals of teeth.
An Orthopantomogram or as we refer to as an OPG is a panoramic or wide view x-ray of the lower face, which displays all the teeth of the upper and lower jaw on a single film. It demonstrates the number, position, and growth of all the teeth including those that have not yet surfaced or erupted. It is different from the small close up x-rays dentists take of individual teeth. An OPG may also reveal problems with the jawbone and the joint which connects the jawbone to the head called the Temporomandibular joint or TMJ. An OPG may be requested for the planning of orthodontic treatment, for assessment of wisdom teeth or for a general overview of the teeth and the bone which supports the teeth.
A Lat Ceph is a lateral or side view x-ray of the face, which demonstrates the bones and facial contours in profile on a single film. Lat Ceph x-rays are usually used in the diagnosis and treatment of orthodontic problems.
A Cone Beam CT is a relatively new technique, which is mainly used to assess the jaws and teeth. Its main advantage compared to OPGs and other dental x-rays is that it provides three-dimensional imaging (similar to conventional CT, but with a lower radiation dose). Perth Radiological Clinic uses the Cone Beam CT system, which provides high definition, three dimensional imaging to complement our other dental imaging services including OPGs and conventional CT scanning. Cone Beam CT offers 3-D evaluation of dental anatomy and pathology: for example impacted teeth, pre-implant assessment, orthodontic assessment, and assessment for jaw and face surgery.