Dental X-Rays: Benefits, Safety, and When You Might Need Them

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Going to the dentist and having X-rays taken of our teeth during the appointment is normal. But have you ever wondered why this is done? Receiving dental X-rays near you is beneficial to your oral health in multiple ways; to learn more, please read on.

What are Dental X-rays?

Dental X-rays are special pictures taken of your teeth, gums, and jaw that emit a small amount of radiation. These detailed images help your dentist see things that can not be detected with the naked eye, such as the condition of your tooth roots and nerves. 

Benefits of Dental X-rays

1. Finding Cavities Early

Cavities are tiny holes in your teeth caused by bacteria. Sometimes, these holes are too small to see with the naked eye. Dental X-rays can spot these cavities early, which means the dentist can treat them before they get bigger and more painful.

2. Checking Tooth Development

For kids and teenagers, dental X-rays are great for seeing how teeth are growing and developing. Dentists can tell if teeth are coming in straight or if there might be problems like overcrowding.

3. Detecting Hidden Problems

Sometimes, there are problems below the surface of your gums, like infections or bone loss. Dental X-rays help uncover problems early, which can prevent serious health complications later on.

4. Planning Treatments

If you need braces, a tooth pulled, or a root canal, dental X-rays help the dentist plan the best way to do these treatments. It’s like having a map to guide them through your mouth.

Safety of Dental X-rays

You may be wondering if dental X-rays are safe – after all, they use radiation. The good news is that this technology uses a very small amount of radiation, much less than other types of X-rays. Plus, dentists take extra steps to keep you safe:

  • Protective Gear: You’ll often wear a lead apron and sometimes a thyroid collar. These protect the rest of your body from radiation.
  • Advanced Technology: Modern dental X-ray machines use less radiation than older ones. Dentists also use digital X-rays, which reduce radiation exposure even more.
  • Only When Necessary: Dentists only take X-rays if they need to. They’ll only ask for them if it’s crucial for your dental health.

When You Might Need Dental X-rays

Not everyone needs dental X-rays at every visit to the dentist. Here are some common reasons why your dentist might recommend them:

  1. First Visit: If it’s your first visit to a new dentist, they might take X-rays to get a complete picture of your dental health.
  2. Regular Check-Ups: For most people, getting X-rays for teeth every year or so is enough to keep track of their dental health. Your dentist will decide how often you need them based on your individual needs.
  3. Pain or Discomfort: If you have a toothache or pain in your mouth, X-rays can help find out what’s causing it.
  4. Checking Growth: For kids and teens, dentists often take X-rays to see how permanent teeth are coming in and if there are any problems.
  5. After an Injury: If you’ve had a fall or accident that hurt your mouth, X-rays can help the dentist check for any hidden damage to your teeth or jaw.

What to Expect During a Dental X-ray

If you need a dental X-ray, there’s no need to worry. The process is quick and painless. Here’s what typically happens:

  • Preparation: The dentist or dental assistant will cover you with a lead apron to protect your body from radiation. You might also wear a thyroid collar.
  • Positioning: You’ll either sit or stand, and the dentist will place a small sensor or film inside your mouth. It might feel awkward, but it doesn’t hurt.
  • Taking the X-ray: The dentist or assistant will step out of the room momentarily while the X-ray machine takes pictures of your teeth. You’ll need to stay still for just a few seconds.
  • Reviewing the Results: Once the X-rays are taken, the dentist will look at them and explain what they see. They might show you the images on a computer screen so you can see inside your teeth, too.

Contact our NW Calgary Dentist

Dental X-rays are a valuable tool that helps keep our smiles healthy. They allow dentists to identify problems and provide tailored care to all patients.

Remember, they are only taken when necessary to ensure your smile stays bright and healthy. So, the next time your dentist in NW Calgary recommends an X-ray, you can feel confident knowing it’s integral to taking care of your teeth.

At Sage Hill Dental, we are dedicated to ensuring your dental journey is comfortable and satisfying. Please contact us if you have any questions.