One of the hallmarks of most dental exams is the taking of X-ray images. But why does your dentist take X-rays? And are they safe? If you’ve ever wondered why and how we take these images, X marks the spot for all your X-ray questions!
What Are X-rays?
The name X-ray is short for X-radiation. This is a type of electromagnetic radiation used to take images of bones, muscle and tissue that cannot be seen by the naked eye. X-rays have a wavelength between 0.01 and 10 nanometers, depending on the machine and its intended use. X-rays are perfectly safe for annual use at your exam when proper precautions are taken, such as wearing that heavy apron during your images.
What Kinds of X-rays Are There?
There are several different kinds of X-rays that Dr. Abelar routinely takes. These images help him and his team get a better idea of what’s going on behind your gums. With X-rays we can see chips, cracks, the roots of teeth, cavities and even old fillings or dental work. This is especially important when trying to get the full picture of your oral health. There are four main types of X-rays that most dentists take.
Occlusal X-rays are images taken of the floor of the mouth. This lets us see the bite of both the lower and upper jaw. Occlusal X-rays are commonly taken in childhood because they help dental professionals see the development of the emerging adult teeth.
Bite Wing X-rays
Bite wing X-rays are the ones nobody likes to take because you have to bite down on those awkward bite wing brackets. The purpose of bite wing X-rays is to check the upper and lower back teeth, to check both their alignment and to see if there are any cavities between those teeth.
Panoramic X-rays are taken on a special panoramic X-ray machine. This machine takes one large panoramic image of the skull, including the sinuses, jaw, teeth, temporomandibular joints and the nose. While some practices do these routinely, others may only do them as part of orthodontic treatment.
Periapical X-rays take a photo of the entire tooth from root to tip.
Ready for your annual exam and X-rays? Give Dr. Abelar’s office a call at (858) 866-9692.