• X-Rays

    X-Rays

    X-rays are used in the dentistry field to get a better view of the teeth and the underlying roots. There are intraoral X-rays, which look for cavities, roots of the teeth, and bone structure surrounding the teeth.  Extraoral X-rays are used to see teeth as well, but they are more focused on the jaw and the skull.  This type of X-ray is used to monitor the jaw and determine if there are temporomandibular joint issues.

    Intraoral X-rays

    • Bite-wing X-rays show details of the upper and lower teeth in one area of the mouth.  The bite-wing shows a tooth from its crown to the level of supporting bone.  They can detect decay and bone density caused by gum disease.  These types of X-rays can help with determining a proper fit for crowns as well.
    • Periapical X-rays show the whole tooth, from the crown to the end of the root where the tooth is anchored.  These X-rays are used to detect abnormalities in the root structure or surrounding bone structure.
    • Occlusal X-rays are large and show full tooth development and placement.  Each X-ray shows the entire arch of the teeth in the upper and lower jaw.

    Extraoral X-rays

    • Panoramic X-rays show the entire mouth area with all the teeth in the upper and lower jaws on one single X-ray.  This type can show fully emerging teeth locations and can also help with the diagnosis of tumors.  Panoramic X-ray produces a flat view of your entire mouth and the film used is not placed in the mouth, but remains in the machine.  This technique can find cysts and locate the exact positions of impacted teeth in the mouth.
    • Tomograms are great for looking at slices of a structure and blurring out surrounding areas that may be interfering with the view.
    • Cephalometric projections show an entire view of the head. This is helpful in looking at the profile of the individual and the relation of their teeth in this view.
    • Sialography involves visualisation of the salivary glands following injection of a dye.  This dye makes the soft tissue gland visible by X-ray, which is not usually visible by this technique.

    There are also digital imaging techniques that are becoming popular in the dental field, due to the lack of having to develop X-ray film.  The X-rays are sent directly to a computer and can be viewed in this manner.  There is less radiation with this process and no delay from the picture to the visualisation process.  Images can be transferred to specialists via email, which can result in faster response times.  Software on your computer can be used to compare images and it can detect tiny differences that the naked eye may not be able to detect.

    X-rays are a great way to visualise the teeth and bone structure in the mouth.  This gives the dentist a way to look into the mouth in a 2-D image that can show details impossible to see in person.  The pictures can then be compared to each other from one dental visit to another and subtle changes can be monitored.  The X-ray process is a wonderful diagnostic tool that enables dentists to perform their job to the best of their ability.

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