Did you know that outer space generates radiation that reaches Earth? These high-energy particles come from the Sun and interact with humans, exposing us to about 300 microsieverts of cosmic radiation per year. This number might seem high, but it does not affect our health.
One of the fears of many dental patients reluctant to receive x-rays at their dental check-ups is the exposure to radiation. But this regular cosmic radiation equates to about 30 sets of bitewing x-rays. And the average dental patient only receives one of these x-ray scans per year.
The radiation exposure with dental x-rays is minimal and will not hurt you. Yet this imaging can significantly improve your ability to maintain a healthy smile. Read on to learn more about routine dental x-rays and the role they play in your overall oral health.
Types of Dental X-Rays
Your dentist will employ x-ray imaging to get a full view of your smile, both internally and externally. They will use these scans to monitor the health of your teeth and jaw, and the type of x-ray they employ may vary depending on your specific oral health needs.
A bitewing x-ray is the most popular type of dental x-ray imaging. Its name comes from the method of image capturing, in which a patient must bite down on the x-ray sensor. This results in a thorough digital image of the interior of the teeth.
A dentist might use a panoramic x-ray to get both a 2D and 3D image of your entire mouth. This establishes a comprehensive picture of your smile that can spot potential issues and diagnose larger dental concerns that may extend to the jaw or airway.
Full mouth series involve a combination of several individualized x-ray images. This type of imaging is usually reserved for new dental patients to construct a baseline of their oral health. Your dentist can tell you more details about these options when you call their office.
Benefits of Routine Dental X-Rays
Your dentist conducts a visual exam during your check-ups, but dental x-rays allow for a fuller picture of your smile to maximize your preventative dental care. With these images, a dentist can cover multiple bases of your oral health.
They can evaluate the health of your tooth pulp, monitor the growth of your teeth – including wisdom teeth, and spot tooth decay in places in your smile difficult to see with the naked eye, like between teeth. With this early insight, your dentist can offer swift treatment for potential problems before they worsen and lead to further issues.
This can save you time and money for more invasive solutions, like if you require treatment for advanced tooth decay. The dentist can also intervene before wisdom teeth or other concerns cause complications for your smile. Schedule your regular dental exam today to learn more about the advantages of x-ray imaging and your oral health care.