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What to Expect When Getting X-rays From a General Dentist
A general dentist uses diagnostic tools like X-rays to evaluate the health of your mouth. These enable the dentist to see inside teeth, gum tissues, and bone structures in the mouth. X-rays assist in the early diagnoses of various dental issues, like tooth decay, gum disease, and orthodontic problems. The type of dental X-ray that a general dentist decides to use varies depending on what they intend to evaluate.
How a general dentist uses X-rays to evaluate your mouth
X-rays are typically performed with the patient upright in a dental chair. The oral professional performing the procedure might cover up the patient’s thyroid and chest with a lead collar and apron, respectively. One or more X-ray sensors are then inserted into the patient’s mouth and used for capturing the picture.
Most people do not feel any discomfort or deal with any other issues when getting X-rays. Where the sensors are placed affects how comfortable the experience is for each patient. For example, the sensors placed at the back of the mouth can trigger a sensitive gag reflex. Children in particular tend to have sensitive gag reflexes, which can make getting X-rays more challenging for them.
The size of a patient’s mouth also affects how comfortable taking X-rays feels. People with smaller mouths are more likely to feel uncomfortable with a sensor in their mouth. The different types of X-rays used in the diagnosis and treatment of dental issues include the following.
These are the most commonly used types of X-rays in dentistry, and they are usually taken yearly to help detect cavities and issues with the structures that support teeth.
These X-rays are used to take a complete picture of a tooth, from the top of its crown to its root. Also known as PAs, these X-rays are typically recommended when a patient comes into the clinic complaining about symptoms that affect a specific tooth. PAs can be used to diagnose various issues, like deep decay inside a tooth, defects in the bone structures that surround teeth, and abscesses.
These are specialized X-rays that are used to examine the floor or roof of a patient’s mouth. Dentists can use them to diagnose issues like tumors, jaw abnormalities, and impacted teeth.
A panoramic X-ray is ordered every three to five years to record a patient’s bite. It is also used to evaluate patients who are seeking orthodontic treatments to address teeth or jaw alignment issues.
X-rays and radiation
Some people are reluctant to get X-rays due to concerns about radiation. Those fears are unfounded because dental X-rays expose patients to less radiation than they are exposed to by the sun daily. Dentists also take precautions, like the use of lead collars and aprons, to minimize radiation exposure.
X-rays paint a clear picture of your mouth
X-rays enable a general dentist to see the things in your mouth that they cannot see with the naked eye, allowing them to detect developing issues early on. Call or visit our Tucson clinic to learn more about dental X-rays.
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