Dental x-rays are able to show your mouth in a way that can't be viewed with the naked eye. They're able to show us if wisdom teeth are impacted. They're able to show tooth roots, the presence of decay in between the teeth and even tumors or cysts. All of this information is used at our Asheville dental practice to help us help you remain in the best oral health of your life.
When Are X-Rays Necessary?
Our familiarity with you and your smile will help us determine how often x-rays are needed. If you're a new patient, x-rays are often necessary to construct a baseline of health. We will determine your oral health status and then based on disease risk, monitor your health progress. Our office in Asheville considers the needs versus the risk of every x-ray we take.
X-rays will also be necessary if you've recently had trauma to your mouth from an accident. We want to be sure everything is where it should be and that internal damage hasn't occurred.
Teenagers and young adults are on the cusp of having their wisdom teeth erupt. They benefit from x-rays by determining the location of the wisdom teeth in relationship to important anatomical structures. With this information, Dr. Saunders can determine if oral surgery to remove a tooth is necessary.
What Are the Different Types of X-Rays?
There are two main types of x-rays utilized in dentistry. They are intraoral radiographs (which places a sensor/film inside the mouth) and extraoral radiographs (which places the sensor/film outside of the mouth). Our Asheville dental practice uses digital technology for both methods.
Bitewing. Bitewings are intraoral x-rays, and the type you're probably most familiar with. In order to take these x-rays, you'll bite down on a plastic device that has an x-ray sensor inside. These x-rays are perfect for seeing any decay that may exist in between your teeth, and are usually done to see a specific area within your mouth.
Periapical. Another intraoral type of x-ray, periapical x-rays, help your Asheville dentist to see your whole tooth, roots and all. These can be used to evaluate the bone in your jaw supporting the tooth and if there is any inflammation or infection at the tip of the root. Your dentist in Asheville, NC may want to take several sets of periapical x-rays to examine the roots throughout your entire mouth.
In our dental office bitewing and periapical radiographs are taken with a digital technology that uses a sensor that appears like film. After the exposure the sensor is scanned by a processor that reads the image with a laser and transmits it to a computer screen for viewing. The entire processing takes about 20 seconds, much less time then traditional film. Furthermore, digital technology exposes our patients to significantly less radiation.
Panoramic. Panoramic x-rays allow us to view you entire mouth in just one image. These extraoral x-rays can help to detect the location and shape of unerupted wisdom teeth, evaluate for sinus infections as well as screen for plaque in the carotid arteries. For children, we can evaluate their permanent teeth long before they erupt. We will know early on if the child is missing an adult tooth and can treatment plan the best way to replace the tooth. However, they aren't ideal for seeing the detail in your teeth, such as tooth decay.
Cone Beam CT. Another extraoral radiographic method is a Cone Beam CT. With this technology, the doctors at Saunders DDS can evaluate your facial structures with precision in 3-D. Determining the location of a nerve that is close to the roots of a wisdom tooth or treatment planning for the placement of a dental implant is best done by our CT scanner.
You may need several different types of x-rays depending on certain factors, such as if you plan on getting restorative dentistry done, if Dr. Saunders believes you have extensive decay, or if you're a new patient with us. During your appointment, you can talk to Dr. Saunders about what types of x-rays you may need, if any!
Radiation and X-Rays
X-rays aren't needed all the time, and Dr. Saunders won't suggest x-rays if they're not necessary. Technology has advanced to help us keep your exposure to radiation during your x-rays as low as possible. If you have any concerns about radiation and x-rays, talk with Dr. Saunders.
During your new appointment with us, you can talk with Dr. Saunders about any concerns you have about x-rays and if x-rays are needed. To schedule an appointment with us to have x-rays done or just to get a checkup or dental exam, contact us at 828-277-6060.