Different types of dental X-rays serve different purposes for your dental health. Some help your dentist discover cavities, some will help diagnose an abscess, others will show the position of the wisdom teeth and more. Let’s discuss the main types X-rays we might take at our offices and how these x-rays are part of your dental health.
Bite-wing X-rays. These are the most common type of dental X-ray, usually taken as part of a routine visit, once or twice per year (depending on individual needs, insurance coverage, and other factors). Bite-wing images help diagnose cavities between the teeth. They show the inner sides of back molar teeth. Since molars have large side surfaces, the in-between surfaces are not possible to see without X-rays. So with bite-wing X-rays you get a look in-between all those back teeth to detect any possible decay that is not visible to the eye or with probing or other testing methods. These X-rays can also help detect loss of bone density due to periodontal disease. Bite-wing X-rays usually do not show the entire tooth root, though.
Periapical X-rays. This is an X-ray of the whole tooth, from the bone surrounding the root tip to the crown. This is the type of X-ray that is commonly required in the presence of a toothache in order to detect the cause… decay, abscess, fracture, problems with root structure, or other conditions that need immediate diagnosis.
Full mouth X-rays. The “full mouth X-ray” is actually a series of smaller X-rays that make up a set. Multiple X-ray images are taken of the entire mouth, including every tooth and all the front teeth and back teeth, just a few teeth per image. This series can be a good diagnostic and preventive tool to check the entire mouth for things like cavities, bone loss or periodontal conditions, and to inspect inner dental structures periodically.
Panoramic X-ray. A panoramic X-ray is a single image of the entire mouth, both jaws, and all the teeth, including un-erupted teeth or impacted wisdom teeth. This type of X-ray is useful for detecting the position of all teeth as well as emerging adult teeth in children and adolescents. Panoramic X-rays are very important for orthodontic treatment as well as wisdom teeth removal. They can also detect abnormalities in the jaw.
Although there are other types of X-rays not included in this overview, all of the common X-rays listed above are frequently taken at Mall Of Georgia Dentistry, and every one of them can play a role in keeping your smile in the best shape possible. Dental X-rays help improve your dental and oral health in many ways, from finding cavities while they are still small, to diagnosing an infection, to facilitating orthodontic treatment. Dental X-rays are great tools to help you keep your smile bright and healthy!