Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

What are bitewing X-rays? June 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:46 am

X-rays are some of the most important tools dental professionals have when treating teeth. There are several types of x-rays you might encounter at a dentist office, but the most common are bitewing x-rays. You know these, right?

Bitewing radiographs are routine x-rays that detect cavities between the teeth. They can also show decay that is occurring under existing fillings. Bitewing x-rays are very important for cavity detection because it is impossible to see underneath fillings or between two molars with the naked eye… you need x-ray vision for that!

This type of x-ray is a specific view of the teeth that shows the upper and lower back teeth. The name “bitewing comes from the shape of the film, reminiscent of wings with the little tab situated in the center of the X-ray film, which you bite on to hold the film in place. Centering the x-ray film in the bite of the teeth positions it so that it captures an even amount of imagery from the upper and lower teeth. Bitewing x-rays can also be valuable for checking occlusion, or how the upper and lover teeth line up and fit together.

These types of x-rays are considered routine and preventative or diagnostic, and they are typically done at a routine cleaning appointment once or twice per year. Individual needs may vary, but adults are usually recommended to get bitewing x-rays about once every year or two, and children once or twice per year. People who have had few or no cavities may require them less often, and people who are prone to more cavities may be advised to have them done more often. Your dental health care providers review each patient’s individual caries risk and make a recommendation based on that.

If it has been a while since you’ve had bitewing x-ray images taken of your teeth, don’t be surprised to hear the dental hygienist recommend them at your next appointment! At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we know how important it is to catch tooth decay early, before it becomes a more invasive and expensive problem. Bitewing x-rays are just one great way we help keep your smile bright and healthy!


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