There are studies that allow your dentist to diagnose and identify diseases and injuries in your mouth, which cannot be detected by a physical examination. Therefore, knowing more about the use and importance of dental radiographs is essential when attending an appointment with any specialist in oral health.
The process to take a dental x-ray
Dental x-rays are an important part of any oral health plan, so knowing what they are will help you feel more secure and confident. They are usually performed in the office of a dentist or dental specialist. The procedure can be divided into two main stages:
- Preparation: The specialist will wear a lead apron. This is a bit heavy, but it will protect you from radiation. Subsequently, a small device that is covered with plastic will be inserted into your mouth. You will be asked to bite it to keep it in a fixed position.
- Execution: The expert will then take the radiograph of the area or part he needs. It is a short and painless process that can be repeated until the images of all the areas of the mouth are necessary. This can be printed on a photographic paper or viewed by means of a computer
Importance of dental radiographs
Dental radiographs are images of the teeth and maxillofacial structure that are obtained through the use of x-rays. These are composed of electromagnetic waves that have the ability to pass through opaque bodies such as bone structure and form images. The color of the elements in the image depends on the composition of each of them. Structures that have air will appear black in print, while woven and liquid teeth will have a gray hue.
What are dental x-rays for?
Dental radiographs complement any clinical evaluation that the specialist performs on the patient. They are useful in virtually all stages of many mouth treatments. It is a tool that helps diagnose the problem more specifically. And it is also an important part in the preparation of the treatment planning indicated for the patient.
It can also be used as a form of immediate control or over time. This last function applies to endodontic treatments, restorations, orthodontic treatments, dental implants, different types of injuries and more.
Then we can say that x-rays allow dentists to:
- Observe tooth roots
- Find cavities
- Analyze the state of health of the bone area that is around one or more teeth
- Study the development of teeth
- Diagnose different periodontal and dental diseases
Types of dental radiographs
There are several types of dental radiographs and each of them allows the specialist to evaluate different elements of your mouth.
Depending on the position of the device
- Intraoral: Are those where the film is placed in the inner part of the mouth, as in the bite fin radiography.
- Extraoral: In this type of dental x-ray the film is placed on the outside of the mouth.
According to its function:
- Interproximal: This type of radiography is also known as the bite fin. In it you can see the teeth of a specific area of the mouth seen from the side. The image also distinguishes the dental roots and the bone that supports them. The film is placed inside the mouth so it is intraoral. This is mainly used to detect cavities that are between the teeth or in areas difficult to evaluate with common tools. Although it can also be used to assess the state of bone supports.
- Periapical: In it you can observe all the elements of the tooth, from the crown to its root. It can be one or two specific pieces. The image provided by this study allows specialists to determine if there is any change in the root or structures surrounding the bone.
- Panoramic: It allows to visualize the mouth in its entirety. This type of x-ray is used to observe the position of erupted teeth, those that are in the eruption phase and those that are impacted. To carry out this image you need a special machine that rotates around the patient’s head.
- Occlusal: It is also known as palatal. Through this type of x-ray they can observe an entire arch of teeth. It is usually used in children to see the development of their jaw.
- Complete: This dental x-ray is a set of those already named. It is used when the specialist does not have any information about the patient’s condition. Also, in case you present a history of mandibular pathologies.