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The Importance Of Dental X-Rays During An Examination

The Importance Of Dental X-Rays During An Examination

Many patients ask, "Why do I require regular X-rays?" That is a good question. The simple answer is to keep track of your oral health. 

Do you really need dental X-rays?

Radiographic examinations of the mouth and teeth play an extremely important role in the diagnosis as well as management of various dental conditions. By using radiographs your dentist is able to detect problems that may not be seen through visual examination alone and sometimes before symptoms become present.

Why X-rays?

X-rays, also known as radiographs, capture images of the parts of your mouth your dentist can’t see. That’s because hard tissues like bones and teeth absorb more radiation than softer gum and cheek tissues, creating a picture that clearly shows differences between these types of tissue. What does all that mean? Your dentist can use X-ray technology to uncover ‘ decay, gum disease, infection, tooth cracks, bone loss and other problems that aren’t visible to the eye.


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.

How often should you have dental X-rays?

Your dentist will make a recommendation based on your oral health. Some patients resist X-rays even when their dentist suggests them but this can lead to trouble. For instance, if a patient attends an examination for a dental problem, however, refuses x-rays during their visit and then returns 3 years later with a huge problem this issue could have been prevented if an x-ray had been taken.

Are they safe?

Experts will tell you: A dental X-ray is far from dangerous. The amount of radiation you’re exposed to in full mouth X-ray series is only about 1/23 of the radiation you’re already getting from natural sources each year. And with new digital X-ray technology that replaces the old film method, the radiation is reduced further.

In fact, not getting X-rays can be riskier. If your preschooler has a cavity, odds are high that there are several other unseen cavities between his or her teeth. However, an X-ray will be needed to diagnose or rule cavities out. 

If you are pregnant it is important you do inform your dentist. If you’re pregnant and have a dental infection, failure to diagnose and treat it could be more dangerous for your baby than the X-ray itself. 

Even though the level of radiation is low, precautions are taken to minimize your exposure. The X-ray machine focuses the radiation only on your mouth, and you can wear a lead apron and collar to protect other parts of your body. Your dentist and his or her staff have been thoroughly trained in taking X-rays, and the equipment itself is inspected regularly.

If your dentist recommends an X-ray of your mouth, please rest assured it is to safeguard your health, not threaten it. 




Yes, We See Children Under The Medicare Child Benefit Scheme

Yes, We See Children Under The Medicare Child Benefit Scheme

It’s important for your children to look after their teeth.

Having healthy teeth can prevent dental problems like cavities.  At Cambridge City Dental one of our highest priorities is to help teach your child why it is important to take care of their teeth.

So What Is The Medicare Child Benefit Scheme?

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) has been introduced by the federal government to make that task a little easier if you receive benefits such as Family Tax Benefit A payments. The CDBS helps you keep your kids’ teeth in great shape by providing you with up to $1000 that you can use over a two calendar year period on a range of dental services including examinations, routine cleaning, fillings, and root canals.

What the CDBS doesn’t cover, however, are orthodontic (the straightening of crooked teeth), cosmetic dental procedures (the restoration or replacement of damaged or missing teeth), or any work that might need to be done in a hospital. If you aren’t sure what’s covered, just ask your dentist


Your child’s eligibility

Your child is deemed eligible for the CDBS by Medicare, who administers the program, if:

  • they’re within the applicable age range for at least some of that year
  • they qualify for Medicare;
  • and you receive either Family Tax Benefit Part A, Parenting payment or Double Orphan Pension payments for at least some of that year.

Your child can still access CDBS services throughout a particular calendar year regardless even if your circumstances change. Even so, it’s still worth confirming with Medicare that your child still qualifies for CDBS before phoning your dentist to book an appointment.

Keep in mind that not all dentists perform services under the CDBS; it’s best to check with your dentist if they do prior to booking in for treatment.

Using your $1000 allocation

To ensure that you’re aware of the costs upfront, we will explain all probable expenses and get your consent in writing before treatment begins. If there’s any additional work needed following the initial examination, the costs will again be outlined and your consent obtained. This means you can then decide how quickly or slowly you use your $1000 allocation; you can use it all at once if you need to, or spread the spending out over the two calendar years. 

If you’re not sure how much of your allocation you have left to use, we are more than happy yo find this out for you, and let you know if you’ll be up for any out-of-pocket expenses.


Find out more

To discover more about this beneficial program, and whether your child is eligible, call Medicare on 132 011 or visit the Department of Human Services website. Alternatively, you may also call us on 9382 8266 or click book now to make an online appointment.

Your Child's First Dental Visit

Your Child's First Dental Visit

Here at Cambridge City Dental, we believe in healthy smiles at every age.  Our dentists love working with children. During your child’s first visit to us, one of our expert dentists will discuss your little one’s background and oral health needs. Following this, we will evaluate your child’s smile and provide any educational or therapeutic services in a compassionate, understanding manner.

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Growing up with routine preventative care can help your child enjoy their future trips to the dentist as he or she grows up.

There are a number of times where parents ask, “When should my child see a dentist?” The simple answer to this question is “ the first visit by your child's first birthday".

The idea of such early dental visits is surprising to a lot of parents however, studies have shown that preschool aged children are developing a lot more cavities. To prevent early cavities, parents must first find out their child’s risk of developing cavities. Parents must also learn how to manage their child’s diet, oral hygiene, and fluoride use to prevent problems.

Cavities are not the only thing that parents must learn regarding their child’s dental health. The first dental visit lets the dentist and parents discuss how to properly care for their infant or toddlers mouth, the proper use of fluoride, oral habits, including thumb and finger sucking, ways to prevent accidents that could damage the face and teeth, teething milestones and developments and also the link between diet and oral health.

After, the first visit, the dentist will suggest a schedule or follow up visits. As a rule of thumb every 6 months is advised however this may vary depending on each child’s needs and risks.


While our practice is more than happy to see infants, toddlers and young children in some cases your child may be referred to a pediatric dentist to care for their needs.

It is, however, important to take time out with your child to play “dentist” whether that be pretending to count teeth or reading your child stories about the dentist. Always make an appointment for a time when your child is well rested. Inform the dentist of any medical issues your child may have and openly discuss your questions and concerns.

It is very important not to convey anxiety about the dental visit to your child. Do not use words like hurt, scary, needle or drill around your child. It is normal for a child to cry a little at their first visit but we will always make sure to try and make the child feel as comfortable as possible. We will offer them a balloon or a toothbrush to win them over. We also let the child have a ride on the dental chair to make the experience as fun as we possibly can.

It is important to never force your child into the dental chair as 9 times out of 10 this is where phobias will start.

To book an appointment with Dr Tan Or Dr Juengling please click the link below. Alternatively you may also call us on 9382 8266.