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Dental X-Rays; What You Should Know Before Visiting Your Dentist
August 08, 2019  |  Airdrie Springs Dental Blogs

Dental X-Rays; What You Should Know Before Visiting Your Dentist

Your trip to the dentist should include regularly scheduled
dental x-rays. An x-ray is an imaging test that dentists use to get a clear
image of your teeth and jaw to be able to plan what course of treatment to
follow. This may mean filling cavities, braces or just a regular pat on the
back for good oral hygiene.

When having x-rays, various parts of your body absorb radiation
at a different rate. The calcium in your bones draws the most amount of
radiation. As a result, your bones look white after the imaging. Fat, muscles,
and other soft tissues absorb less, which is why they look grey in the image.

Of course, a dental radiograph is not a one-size-fits-all
diagnostic procedure. Doctors and specialists use x-rays to determine any
possible oral care issues, such as impacted or abnormal development of the
teeth, and even gum disease. They’re divided into two main categories: the
intraoral and extraoral.


In this type of procedure, the x-ray film is placed inside the
mouth. This type of radiograph is the most common among all the types of dental
x-rays. Intraoral radiographs provide a tremendous amount of detail, letting
your dentist find cavities and check the health of your entire tooth--enamel to
root. Types of intraoral x-rays include:

  1. Bite-wing X-rays unravel the upper and lower teeth in a specific
    area in your mouth. This type of radiograph shows the molars (backmost teeth)
    and the premolars. After biting a wing-shaped device, one or more images are
    taken. Your dentist checks the radiographic image for any signs of decay and gum disease. This type of
    imaging can also help your dentist during restorations and fillings.
  2. Periapical X-rays are captured almost the same way as bite-wing x-rays, but only
    one tooth is examined. This type of x-ray shows the entire tooth from the crown
    down to the root to check changes around the tooth and neighboring bone
  3. Occlusal X-rays show nearly the entire arch of the teeth on either the upper or
    lower jaw.


This kind of procedure provides information on the jaw and
skull. Unlike intraoral x-rays, this type of radiograph gives fewer details of
an individual tooth. Here are examples and brief explanations of each:

  1. Panoramic X rays show the entire mouth area to detect developing and
    impacted teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Some dentists also use this
    procedure to help diagnose tumors.
  2. Tomograms examine structures in the mouth that are difficult
    to see because of obstacles and nearby structures blocking the typical
    view. Only one layer is shown while rest are blurred out.
  3. Cephalometric projections show an entire side of the head to help
    orthodontists determine the best teeth-realignment approach.
  4. Dental Computed (CT)
    looks at interior structures
    in 3D to detect problems in facial bones such as cysts, tumours, and
  5. Cone Beam CT creates high-quality 3-D images of your soft
    tissues, nerves, and bones to help dentists in tooth implant procedures
  6. Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    takes a 3-D view of the
    oral cavity including your jaw and teeth to evaluate soft tissues


This list is not exhaustive, other types of specialized intraoral and extraoral radiographs not mentioned. Both types of x-rays can be vital in helping your dentists create a comprehensive dental care plan and treatment specifically tailored for you. Hopefully this gives you a clear picture (pun intended) of how important x-rays are in making your dentist’s work more straightforward, and your smile brighter.

Rest assured that at Airdrie Springs Dental, we only use digital X-rays which produce the lowest possible dose of radiation

Please call us at 587 317 4161 or CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment or receive more information from us at Airdrie Springs Dental.