Dental X-Rays

Dental X-Rays

A dentist needs to evaluate their patient’s oral health. They will often use a dental X-ray to obtain an image of a patient’s teeth and jaw as part of their evaluation process. An X-ray will use very low levels of radiation to obtain images of the interior of a person’s mouth. These images are able to help a dentist detect any dental problems such as impacted teeth, cavities as well as tooth decay and more. They are an essential part of dental treatment and care.


Many dentists advise their patients to carefully brush their teeth prior to their dental appointment. This provides a healthy and hygienic environment for those in the dental office who will be working inside the patient’s mouth. The X-ray will be performed prior to any teeth cleaning. Many dental practices will have a separate room for X-rays. A patient will be given a lead vest to cover their chest and lap. The X-ray machine is then moved near a location on person’s jaw to get the necessary images.

X-ray Benefits

The American Dental Association (ADA) has determined there are a number of diseases that affect a patient’s teeth, as well as surrounding tissue, that are not able to be detected by the visual inspection of a dentist. Discovering these types of diseases will require an X-ray to show they exist, their location as well as the level of seriousness. A dentist will be able to identify infections in the jaw bone, tumors, periodontal disease as well as developmental abnormalities, cysts, abscesses and more. Once these conditions are identified, a dentist will be able to begin appropriate treatment.

Types Of Dental X-rays


These are designed to show an image of the entire tooth. This includes the crown down to the root where the tooth is attached to the jaw. It provides a dentist with the full dimensions of a tooth. They are able to identify any abnormalities of the root structure in a person’s mouth as well as their jaw’s bone structure.


These are larger than other X-rays. They are able to provide images of a full tooth as well as its placement and development. These images are able to show a dentist the entire arch of a person’s teeth within their lower or upper jaw.


These X-rays are able to provide detailed images of the upper, as well as lower teeth, in a specific area of a patient’s mouth. They can show details of a tooth from the crown down to the supporting bone area. Bite-wing X-rays are able to show decay between teeth and any type of changes in bone density that could be the result of gum disease. They can also help show the integrity of fillings as well as the successful fit of a crown.


This type of X-ray shows a patient’s teeth, but the focus is on their skull and jaw. They are not utilized for identifying cavities or problems with specific teeth. They are used to detect impacted teeth. Extraoral X-rays are also used to monitor the development and growth of the jaw when it comes to a patient’s teeth. It can also show problems developing between jaws and teeth as well as other bones in the face.


These are the most types of X-rays used by dentists. They are able to provide dentists with detailed images inside a patient’s mouth. These X-rays are able to identify cavities as well as the health of a person’s tooth, root, and jaw bone. The health of tissue surrounding the tooth can also be seen. This provides important images of developing teeth.

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