Essential X-Rays: Top 6 Reasons Why You Need Them

Sep 30, 2019

Everyone knows what it feels like to go for a dental check and clean. But do you know why dentists want to take X-rays of your teeth? These are the top 6 reasons why you NEED dental X-rays.

1. X-Rays Allow Accurate Diagnosis

Dental X-rays, also known as radiographs, give dentists the full picture of your teeth. Dentists can only observe the visible surfaces in an oral examination. Spaces between teeth, inside teeth, underneath the gums, and existing fillings are not observable to the naked eye. This is where dental radiographs come into the picture.

2. X-Rays Detect Cavities

Cavities appear as black areas (radiolucencies) in dental X-rays and they can be found in between teeth, inside teeth structure, under the gums, or under existing fillings. Cavities detected at an early stage can be cleaned and filled which is ideal. The decay in a cavity left too long may burrow so deep into the tooth that it could cause the death of the pulpal nerve inside the tooth which would then require either root canal treatment or extraction.

3. Bone Loss Under Gums

Any black patches at tooth root tips indicate bone loss due to root canal infection (which will need to be treated by root canal therapy or extraction). Extensive radiolucencies running along the side of a tooth root can indicate a deep microscopic crack in the tooth root (which may necessitate the extraction of that tooth). Generalised radiolucency along the length of the majority of your teeth is a probable indication of periodontitis.

All of these diagnoses cannot be confirmed without the aid of dental X-rays. It is always better to diagnose an issue early as preventative measures are far less expensive and time consuming than more extensive treatments.

4. Other Irregularities

There can be other irregularities detected by dental radiographs, such as developmental abnormalities like impacted wisdom teeth that could potentially cause pain in the future. Black patches in the jaw bone may also provide some evidence of cysts, abscesses, tumours, or other masses. Depending on the irregularity, your dentist may refer you on to other specialists for further advice or treatment, but getting this initial diagnosis is essential to your wellbeing.

5. X-Rays are Safe and Fast

Since the invention of digital dental radiography, dental X-rays have reduced the level of radiation exposure by up to 80% compared with traditional dental radiographs. This means that radiation exposure is now almost negligible. Also, digital X-rays only take a fraction of a second as there is no need to wait for the films to be developed. All in all, dental radiographs have never been safer, faster, or more convenient to take.

6. Private Health Cover

The cherry to top it all off is that most private health insurance providers include free dental X-rays with regular dental check-ups if you have basic dental cover (but check with your private health insurance just to be on the safe side). Dental X-rays are incredibly important and need to be taken at least once every two years.

So why not head on down to your local dentist and let them help you keep on smiling.