Exploring the Importance of Dental X-Rays in Preventive Dentistry

Just as general practitioners use X-ray imaging to diagnose or detect various health conditions, dentists depend on the same technology to get a detailed view of the oral cavity. Oftentimes, there are bone, tissue and tooth issues that need to be addressed but are not visible to the naked eye through a visual examination. 

An X-ray machine uses electromagnetic energy beams to capture images of the body structures such as bones, tissues and organs. Dental X-rays, or dental radiographs, use low forms of radiation to produce an image of the teeth and gums.

Below, we explore the importance of dental X-rays in preventive dentistry.

Dental X-Rays in Preventive Dentistry

How Can Dental X-Rays Help to Prevent Hidden Problems?

X-rays play an important role in dental plans, particularly for children. The imaging helps to detect if there is adequate space for the teeth to erupt, if primary teeth are growing quick enough for the permanent teeth to be properly positioned and if there are any abnormalities with the development of the wisdom teeth. 

There are two main types of X-rays: intraoral and extraoral X-rays.

Intraoral X-rays

  • Bitewing X-rays: This type of X-ray is regularly used to expose issues with the upper and lower teeth and the tissues in between the teeth. Early detection of decay, cavities and bone density changes can help dentists create preventive interventions before further problems develop. 
  • Periapical X-rays: Since dental issues can affect any part of the tooth from the root to the crown, imaging captured with periapical X-rays assists dentists in the treatment plan. Specific issues such as root infections, impacted teeth or abscesses can be diagnosed quickly with this form of examination. 

Extraoral X-rays

  • Panoramic X-rays: As the name suggests, this type of X-ray captures images of the entire oral cavity. This two-dimensional image involves examining the upper and lower jaw, teeth, sinus area, and surrounding tissues. Panoramic X-rays can detect minor and significant dental issues such as jaw disorders and impacted teeth.
  • Cephalometric X-rays: Commonly referred to as ceph X-rays or radiographs, this is a valuable tool in the diagnostics and treatment plans for orthodontic treatment. It displays soft tissues, bone structure and tooth structure. It can help dentists assess impacted teeth, jaw positioning, broken jaws, airway issues, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) conditions and signs of some cancers. 

Benefits of Dental X-Rays in Prevention

As a valuable diagnostic tool, X-rays are used to see the early development stages of cavities, tooth decay, infection and other oral issues not seen with a visual examination. Early detection and treatment can prevent serious problems that can lead to severe pain, tooth loss, irreversible gum disease and oral cancers. 

X-rays can also help detect bone loss in the jaw caused by oral diseases and tooth misalignment that alters the natural positioning and biting of the jaw. Bone loss in the jaw can lead to problems with eating and speaking, a lack of self-confidence, pain and discomfort. Facial bone composition can also be examined with X-rays. 

Significant dental health issues such as periodontal disease can have an adverse effect on the overall health of a person. Oral health inflammation and infections have been linked to clogged arteries, heart disease, and even stroke. The immune system can also be compromised leading to a wealth of health conditions. 

Addressing Concerns: Taking the Fear Out of X-Rays

Exposure to radiation from X-rays may be concerning for some people as radiation emitted from appliances, minerals within the ground and the sun can adversely affect the health of our cells and soft tissues. 

Many dentists understand the apprehension that people may have when it comes to the safety of using X-rays as part of a diagnostic examination. It is important to note that there have been many advancements over the past 20 years to improve the effectiveness and safety of radiation exposure. 

It is recommended that new dental patients receive X-rays to form a baseline of their present oral health. Any subsequent visits will require less frequent X-ray examinations. Using a leaded apron/collar is a common practice in dental offices to reduce exposure to the abdomen and throat. 

As concerns of radiation exposure to pregnant women are valid, a professional dental office will take all the necessary precautions to reduce the risks associated with X-rays, possibly even delaying taking them during the pregnancy.

To reduce the need for X-rays during regular dental visits, patients are advised to maintain good oral health practices such as brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. 

Call Princeview Dental to Schedule Your Next Dental Checkup with X-Rays Today!

At Princeview Dental Group, our main priority is providing safe and effective oral healthcare with your comfort in mind. Our attentive dental team offers a range of compassionate dental care plans to help keep your oral health in top shape! We are proud to be a progressive dental clinic that utilizes the latest technologies to improve the service to all patients. 

We invite you to check out our friendly and non-judgemental environment at, 3052 Bloor Street West in Etobicoke. 

If you have any concerns about the effects of dental X-rays and whether you need to have them done, our knowledgeable team will be pleased to answer any questions you may have. Call us at (416) 231-4562 to schedule an appointment!

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