The X-ray and a dentist appointment often go hand in glove. To get a clearer picture of your teeth and their possible direction of movement, a dentist needs to know what is going on under the gums and in the jaw. It is considered a simple method to establish a more accurate diagnosis of your oral cavity and more.
However, there has been some controversy when it comes to this practice. Many of you might have heard that an X-ray exposes you to elevated dosages of radiation. Thanks to modern technology what was once the case is no longer as prevalent. Currently, and when adequate safety precautions are in place, you will be exposed to the same level of radiation as if you were sitting on a plane for two hours.
But for What Exactly Are They Used in Dental Practice?
An X-ray helps bring clarity to areas that are otherwise invisible to the eye. And in using them, your healthcare provider can ascertain whether any underlying issues are prevalent.
- Bone loss associated with gum disease
- Areas of decay, including those in between teeth or under a filling
- Alterations to the root canal
- Inflammations infecting the root of the tooth or between the tooth and gum
It is mainly a planning tool to avoid dental problems and prepare for dentures, braces, tooth implants and other comparable treatments.
What Kind of X-ray Procedures Do Dentists Use?
Hand and Joint X-ray
Orthodontists use this method in children to determine future growth patterns to plan any dental inventions accordingly. It is mainly employed for mouth development forecasting.
Bitewing shots are mainly used for caries detection. Since only the crown areas of the teeth are covered, the tooth roots on such images are not shown in their entirety.
The Skull Radiograph
In addition to panoramic and intraoral images, there are techniques that can cover larger parts of the skull. Paranasal sinus images, axial skull recordings and cephalometric radiographs not only provide an image of the oral cavity, but can frontally, axially or laterally cover essential areas for a maxillofacial (mouth, face and jaws) examination.
They are used to determine fractures, temporomandibular joint diseases, tumors, inflammations of the jaw, but also for orthodontic/surgical planning and treatment, and additionally, the cranial bone, including the oral cavity, is correspondingly selectively illuminated.
Partial Skull X-ray
The preparation of X-ray images is indispensable in dentistry for diagnosis and therapy. Dental devices for intraoral pictures and panoramic devices enable comprehensive diagnostics. With the help of X-ray technology, the structures of the teeth and the jawbone are penetrated and can be depicted as a ray relief.
One form of partial absorption of the skull is the occlusal image. Here, the side of the X-ray beam is directed to the tooth surfaces and allows for a second-level projection that hits the teeth. Occlusal recordings are used to determine cysts, tumors, fractures, jaw gaps, and to localize displaced teeth or foreign bodies.
The Panoramic Radiograph
The most important radiograph in dentistry and oral surgery is the panoramic radiograph (PSA), for which the term orthopantomogram (OPG) has come into use. They can be used to take an overview of all teeth and large parts of the jaw (lower jaw with temporomandibular joints and a large part of the upper jaw with the maxillary sinuses).
By a rotating movement around the head of the patient an orthoradial projection is conducted, so that the tooth crowns are not superimposed on the image, but instead, the layers of the left and right side are projected into a plane. An advantage of this method is the clarity and the low radiation exposure for the patient.
Consequently, a two-dimensional panoramic X-ray of the maxilla and mandible is created. A radiograph is often prepared before complex dental procedures to get an overview of the overall situation. Existing caries, as well as details of the bone situation for implants as well as possibly displaced teeth become visible here.
In the case of the digital X-ray, deeper bone structures are visualized, just as in the analog method. The digital part of the X-ray mainly concerns the storage and processing of the received data.
While in the conventional variant images are made visible on films, the digital storage process generates a data record on the computer. In this way, 3D images of the inside of the mouth can also be produced.
This method offers clear advantages compared to the conventional techniques: The radiation exposure is lower, the data set and thus the image are relatively quickly operational, and the overall picture quality is higher.
Thank Goodness we have all of these procedures at our disposal. Thanks to modern technology, many ailments can be avoided. All that remains is for you to frequent the dentist at least bi-annually to keep a healthy set of teeth and gums.
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