A general dentist uses diagnostic tools like X-rays to evaluate their patients. It allows them to evaluate the structures underneath the patient’s gums and the inner layers of teeth. There are different types of X-rays used by dentists, and each has its specific uses.
What to expect when getting an X-ray from a general dentist
X-rays are typically performed with the patient sitting in a chair. A lead apron is placed over the patient’s chest to protect them from radiation, and a thyroid collar is used to protect their neck. The X-ray sensor is then strategically placed in the patient’s mouth so a picture can be taken.
The process does not typically lead to discomfort, but it can feel awkward, depending on where the sensors are placed. People with a sensitive gag reflex are more likely to feel uncomfortable during the process. Such patients should inform the technician taking the X-ray, since there are simple things that they can do to make the process more comfortable, like using smaller sensors.
The types of X-rays commonly used by a general dentist include:
Bitewing X-rays: These types of X-rays are usually taken once a year and are used to evaluate the health of the bone structures that house teeth and to detect cavities
Periapical X-rays: Commonly called PAs, these are used to take a complete picture of a tooth’s internal structures, from its root to the top of its crown; these tests are typically recommended when a patient is experiencing symptoms of oral issues, like severe decay or an abscess
Occlusal X-rays: These are specialized X-rays that are not performed as often as the others, but they provide dentists with useful information about the floor or roof of a patient’s mouth; they are used to scan for issues with the jaw, abnormal growths like tumors, and impacted or extra teeth
Panoramic X-rays: These are taken roughly every five years, provide a much more detailed image of the internal structures in a patient’s mouth, and might be requested when a patient is being prepared for an orthodontic appliance, like braces or clear aligners; panoramic X-rays might also be performed before the extraction of a wisdom tooth
Digital vs. film X-rays
Film X-rays were the standard for decades, but digital X-rays are starting to emerge as the new norm. Digital X-rays provide improved efficiency, emit less radiation, and are easier to operate. A digital X-ray is taken with a sensor that sends the image directly to a computer for immediate viewing. It also allows the dentist to zoom in on specific areas or alter the image as needed to create a better picture. Either way, dentists have strict protocols to follow when it comes to performing dental X-rays, and the devices used emit very little radiation.
Let us evaluate your teeth and gums
Are you due for a dental checkup? Our dentist has all the tools needed to evaluate your oral health. Give us a call or drop by our Peoria clinic to learn more about dental X-rays.
Request an appointment here: https://familydentistrypeoria.com or call Peoria Family Dentistry at 623-552-4665 for an appointment in our Peoria office.
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