Dental patients often wonder why getting X-rays taken at every dental appointment is necessary. Some complain of the discomfort of the procedure and others might be concerned that having frequent X-rays may pose certain health risk.
If you're wondering why your dentist wants to take X-rays every time you come in for an appointment, you should be aware of the reasons why dental X-rays are taken:
One of the most important reasons why dental X-rays are necessary is to detect decay in the teeth. If a cavity is developing in a tooth, X-rays will let dentists know. The sooner a cavity is treated, the less damage it will do and the less intrusive a filling will be.
Detecting Bone Loss
Some dental conditions can lead to bone loss that can pose threats to oral health. In particular, gum disease can cause a patient's bone to deteriorate. X-rays give dentists important information on the condition of a patient's jaw bone.
Infections can be detected through X-rays. If a patient has an infection deep in the dental pulp, he or she may need a root canal or another procedure to restore oral health and prevent extreme discomfort and pain.
Identifying Development Abnormalities
Abnormalities such as cysts and tumors can develop in the mouth and pose enormous health threats if they are not detected early.
Patients at risk of oral cancer—especially those who smoke or have history of gum disease—need to have both X-rays and oral cancer screenings regularly to ensure the earliest possible detection of any cancerous tumors in the mouth.
In young children, X-rays show if there is enough room in the mouth for permanent teeth to grow in properly.
If there is not enough space in a child's mouth for teeth to grow, it might be necessary to pull teeth so that permanent teeth are not obstructed and permanently misaligned.
Checking for Wisdom Teeth Issues
Young dental patients also are susceptible of developing wisdom teeth issues. Dental X-rays can show whether or not a patient is experiencing discomfort because of impacted wisdom teeth that need to be pulled.
Preparing for Dental Procedures
Dental X-rays are important in preparing for many different dental procedures such as root canals, bridges, crowns, tooth implants, dentures, oral surgery, and braces. They allow a dentist (such as Barry Groder DDS) to plan out the procedure and show the dentist if any prep work such as a bone graft is necessary.