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Why do we use Dental X-rays?

Published: 06 October 2017

Within most facets of healthcare, it is often necessary to identify a concern or check for a potential problem by taking a look at things a little further than the eye can see. For example, a doctor might want to take a look at a patient’s lungs to find out what could be causing a persistent cough, or they may need to see the state of a particular bone following a trauma to identify between a break or sprain. In most cases, an X-ray will be requested.

An X-ray is an effective method of taking pictures of the inside of the body so that we can see what’s going on below the surface. In dentistry, we use them quite often and many patients often ask us why – unlike bones and organs, surely we can see everything we need to because the teeth are not hiding away under our skin?

While this may be somewhat true, in actual fact there are some very important parts of the teeth that we can’t see, which are just as important as the parts we can see. This is because the root of the teeth are safely hidden away well below the gum line. Dental X-rays allow us to see what’s going on under the surface, showing up problems such as decay or abscesses that may be causing pain and could lead to tooth loss.

When do we X-ray?

At every new patient appointment, we will carry out dental X-rays to give us a good overall picture of your oral health. These will show up any existing or potential problems that we may need to address, and give us a good marker to compare things to in the future. After this, we will carry out follow-up X-rays every 6-24 months, depending on your oral health needs.

We will also carry out X-rays before certain treatments, such as dental implants, and there are a couple of reasons for this. By taking a look below the surface, we are able to assess the condition of the jawbone to see if the bone is strong enough to securely hold a dental implant in place, or if it could benefit from the help of some artificial bone material. The other reason is so that we can precisely pinpoint the exact spot to place the implant for the best result possible.

If you need dental X-rays, your Clyde Munro dentist will talk you through the process and explain exactly why you need them and what will happen. Rest assured that having a dental X-ray is very quick, painless and completely safe, but if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask a member of the dental team.

To find out more about dental X-rays and the range of treatments we can provide, search for your nearest Clyde Munro practice using the practice finder, here. Our extremely friendly and highly professional team are looking forward to hearing from you.