When it comes to quality in patient care, one of the most important tools that a dentist has available is dental radiography (x-rays). Dental Radiography allows a dentist to see a bigger picture than what's on the surface; hidden evidence.
During a patient's routine dental exam, the dentist can use an x-ray to tell them if the patient will have issues with a particular procedure. An x-ray can tell the dentist if a tooth is infected, even before the patient feels pain. They can even see if there is decay on the side of a tooth, when it may be difficult to see it without the use of an x-ray.
An x-ray is also meant to confirm and provide evidence of what the dentist can readily see. Insurance companies ask for proof, so x-rays, and sometimes pictures of teeth and treatment, provide evidence of the necessity of the treatment that was rendered. This is how patients get reimbursed from the insurance company to pay for their treatment. Dental x-rays can show many conditions that are important to see, including:
- Abscesses and Infection - Detecting an abscess with a dental x-ray is extremely important. Abscesses are not only painful, they cause damage to surrounding tissue and grow rapidly. An x-ray can help us find the abscess and infection and treat it appropriately.
- Bone Loss in Jaw - The alveolar bone surrounds the teeth in your jaw. Most often, loss of this bone is due to Periodontitis, which is a progressive infection that can have devastating consequences if left untreated. If bone loss is detected, more tests are done to confirm the presence of Periodontitis or some other issue that is causing the loss.
- The Presence of Tumors - Tumors and cysts often grow beneath the surface of the skin and gums, so being able to see the growth of a tumor in dentistry may only be possible with the utilization of dental x-rays. These can help the dentist see and diagnose the presence of tumors so proper tests and treatment can commence to confirm the presence of cancer, or not.
- Interproximal Decay - Also known as Dental Caries, interproximal decay is a cavity that forms on the side of a tooth that is sitting next to another tooth. Usually, this area is very difficult to see because the space is only wide enough for thin tooth floss can fit through. Dental x-rays are able to capture the presence of Dental Caries which is important so a dentist can stop the decay from spreading.
- Anomalies - Extra teeth, mal-formed teeth or roots, an absence of teeth, large or small root size, fusion of teeth, and other abnormal conditions may exist below the surface. Only x-rays can tell us some of these issues.
- Tooth & Root Positioning - Knowing the position of a tooth and the roots of a tooth are important during procedures. In an example of wisdom tooth extraction, some wisdom teeth grow in sideways (impacted). It's important to know the position to extract the tooth as easily as possible to remove complications during or after the procedure.
- Location of Nerves - During oral surgical procedures, knowing the position of the nerve that runs through a patient's jaw is extremely important. The nerve sometimes runs very shallow beneath the roots of teeth, and sometimes the roots of teeth surround the nerve. Depending on the location of the nerve, the path or method of treatment may change.
In our office, we utilize digital radiography (x-rays); which use less radiation and more comfortable than traditional x-rays.
Please contact us with any questions at 281-492-6064.