How Dental X-Rays Improve Oral Health Care for Patients

Dentist showing x-ray image to patient sitting in dental chair

X-rays are a vital tool for dentists. They provide detailed imaging of your teeth and jaw, give us a better understanding of your overall oral health, and let us make more accurate diagnoses ahead of treatment. Today’s blog from Northside Dental Clinic talks about how x-rays help to improve dental care for our patients.

Physics Behind X-Rays

X-rays are high-frequency radiation that allow images to show up on certain kinds of film. They produce a black-and-white photograph based on the density of the substance. X-rays bounce off some substances or become absorbed by others. A machine interprets the reflection and absorption as a visual photograph.

How Dental X-Rays Work

As x-rays enter your mouth, your teeth and bones absorb more the rays than the gums, tongue, and soft tissues. Teeth and bones show up whiter and lighter, while soft tissues are darker. Dentists can examine the image produced by the x-rays to see any hidden tooth decay between teeth, any problems in the jaw, or teeth that have yet to break the surface of the gums before they come in. Areas of tooth decay appear darker because the mineral of the tooth isn’t there to absorb more x-rays.

Are X-Rays Safe?

X-rays use small amounts of radiation to produce the images. The amount of radiation your jaw absorbs from x-rays is not significantly higher than normal amounts of radiation you absorb during your daily activities.

The staff at Northside Dental Clinic takes your safety and health into consideration when we take x-rays of your mouth. We’ll put a vest over your chest to keep x-rays from going into the rest of your body. Our staff also exits the room for a brief moment while the machine takes a photograph. 

We recommend getting a dental x-ray no more than once per year for regular exams and check-ups, unless you come to our clinic more regularly due to problems with tooth decay or other ailments.

What Dental X-Rays Show Us

The doctors at Northside Dental Clinic use x-rays to diagnose what’s going on ahead of making a treatment recommendation. X-rays identify tooth decay, but they also point to possible gum infections, receding gum lines, cracked teeth, teeth with infections, and development abnormalities. They’ll also point to wisdom teeth that might be coming in sideways, causing painful impactions.

X-rays help determine if a tooth should be extracted or if it can be saved for a crown. They also point to the extent of bite abnormalities such as an underbite. Your dentist might also see abnormalities in your gums that point to more serious problems such as an infection, cysts, or oral cancer. Over time, x-rays produce a visual history of your mouth that dentists can share with your next dental professional (per your request).

Northside Dental Clinic: Your Dental Care Experts

The staff at Northside Dental Clinic promises to take care of you and your family with understanding, compassion, and empathy. We realize that trips to the dentist can be nerve-wracking. 

That’s why we want to reassure you that we take every precaution to make your visit as pleasant as possible. Contact Northside Dental Clinic today or call (417) 862-2468 for more details on any of our services, including dental x-rays.