Dentist in White Bear Lake MN discusses why Dental X-Rays are needed

While you might like to think your dental practitioner is a superhero possessing the special vision that can see through objects and protect against danger; however, he or she must rely on X-Ray which will help them to see what lies beneath the hard surface of your teeth. 


Below, your dentist in White Bear Lake MN has compiled a list of different types of X-Rays and what exactly they are used for. 


Types of X-Rays

There are different X-Rays for different areas of the mouth:


  • Bitewing x-rays check upper and lower teeth in a single view and check for decay between teeth as well as show how upper and lower teeth align and whether there is any bone loss if gum disease is detected. 
  • Periapical x-rays show the entire tooth from the exposed crown to root end or to put it another way ‘the tooth and nothing but the tooth.’ Such x-rays detect cysts, impacted wisdom teeth, abscesses, tumors and bone changes.
  • Occlusal x-rays show roof or floor of the mouth to detect jaw fractures, cleft palate, growths, teeth that have yet to break through the gums.
  • Panoramic x-rays show a broad view of jaws, teeth, sinuses, nasal area, and temporomandibular (Jaw) joints. Digital Radiography can be sent directly to a computer to be recorded and saved.

If your visit is a first initial exam you will likely be given 14 to 21 Periapical x-rays. Bitewings are done for routine check-ups. Panoramic X-rays are used occasionally. If you follow the protocol of visiting for routine check-ups twice a year, you may only need new x-rays taken every two years as compared to those with the history of gum disease and other chronic dental problems who need x-rays taken more frequently.

Whether traditional x-ray or digital radiography, prepare to be covered with a heavy lead apron as you sit upright in a chair. You will then be asked to bite down (Gently) on a small piece of cardboard or plastic that is put in your mouth area by a dentist or dental technician. This square of cardboard is the x-ray film. While holding this cardboard may bring a ‘gag’ response, the overall procedure is simple and painless and a necessity to find any deep problems that might be lurking under that beautiful white enamel.