When you first visit a dentist’s office, you’ll probably undergo an examination so that the dentist has an idea about the state of your oral health. Usually, that examination will include dental x-rays. We know that some people may be apprehensive about getting dental x-rays because they worry about the radiation levels.
Dental x-rays are safe, and today’s x-ray machines use less radiation than the machines of the past. Dental x-rays are needed to ensure your teeth and mouth are healthy and strong.
Smith and Davis Orthodontics uses top technology to examine your mouth and determine what treatment you might need, whether it’s a simple cleaning, a cavity filled, or a crown to repair a damaged tooth. One of the best ways to figure out your dental needs before braces or clear aligners is with a dental x-ray. So what is a dental x-ray, and why do you need one? We have the answers!
What Is a Dental X-Ray Machine?
When you hear “x-ray machine,” you’re probably thinking of those massive machines you see in a hospital or clinic used to show broken bones. Dental x-ray machines are different types of x-rays and are very different.
Today’s dentist x-ray machines are more compact and open. Their smaller size allows us to move them to the exact location we need to examine. It also allows us to x-ray as small an area as possible, so you’re not getting half your body x-rayed.
In dentistry, the wavelengths of today’s dental x-ray machines produce far less radiation than you might think. On average, dental x-ray machines use about 1-3 mrems (millirems) to take an image of your jaws and teeth. By contrast, a chest x-ray uses about 10 millirems.
Annually, humans are exposed to 620 mrems of radiation, mostly from natural sources and some manmade ones (like x-rays, TVs, and watches). This amount is considered safe, so radiation from dental x-rays is safe!
Why Do I Need Dental X-Rays?
Patients want to know why they need dental x-rays, especially if they have already had a 3D dental scan of their teeth. Why do we need both? We need 3D scans to get a good image of your tooth’s surface and mouth’s structure. Panoramic x-rays get below the surface, allowing us to see inside the bone to the roots of your teeth.
Because X-rays allow us to see the shape of your jaw and tooth roots, we can find abnormalities you may not even know are there yet. For example, we can see if a root is becoming abscessed or infected or if you have impacted teeth. We can see whether your bone is healthy or deteriorating. We can also find things like bone or oral cancer. Dental x-rays are necessary to ensure your mouth is healthy and stays healthy. All of this information is necessary before you get any braces or clear aligners. If your jaws and roots aren’t healthy, your treatment may not be successful. We will ensure your mouth is ready for orthodontic treatment, and dental x-rays are one way we do that.
How Do Dental X-Rays Work?
Dental x-rays are a simple process that can be done right here in our office. Instead of a huge, bulky machine, our dental x-ray machines are much smaller. You can stand up against the machine and bite down on a dental x-ray mouthpiece that holds your mouth still and in the correct position for proper images.
The mouthpiece puts a small bit of space between your upper and lower teeth so we can see everything clearly. We may also give you a lead apron to shield you from minimal radiation if you need it.
Once you’re in position, we’ll take the x-ray image. It usually only requires a few seconds to get your digital x-rays, and then you’re done! Within minutes, we’ll have x-ray pictures we can show you. You’ll be able to see for yourself the shape of your teeth, roots, and jaws, and we’ll be able to tell you whether there are any issues or whether your teeth and jaws are perfectly healthy!
Can You Use Other X-Rays?
We often get new patients who have moved from other areas. They have visited dentists or orthodontists for years and had x-rays in the past. Often, these patients want to know whether they can just bring their old x-rays in rather than get new ones.
We encourage new patients to bring in their old x-rays. Your past dental records give us a history of your oral health, which makes it easier to treat you. We know what to look for by having your dental history records.
Do you get cavities? Had a root canal? Need braces? Need sedation for dental treatment? Still have wisdom teeth?
Your records will tell us all of these things and more. They also should provide your past x-rays.
While past x-rays reveal your history, they don’t show what your oral health is like right now. For that reason, we will still need to take our own dental x-rays when you first visit us. Those x-rays will let us know what past types of dental work you’ve had and whether any of it needs further treatment or repair.
The x-rays will also let us know if any new issues have developed. Your current dental x-rays will also let us know if any pre-treatment needs to be done before you get braces.
Will you need a palate expander? Will any extractions be necessary? Are there any signs of gum disease or tooth decay?
Our x-rays can help us determine these things.
So bring your old records, or let us get them from your previous dentist, but expect a full examination when you first visit us. We want to give you the best, most thorough treatment possible, and we can do that by seeing all parts of your mouth through this 3D digital dental x-ray.
Dental X-Rays in Rogers, AR
Smith and Davis Orthodontics employs cutting-edge tech to enhance visuals of patients’ mouths and jaws before treatment. These images allow us to create a treatment plan that will best serve you and give you the smile you’ve dreamed of having. If you’re in the Rogers and Bentonville, AR, areas, schedule your free consultation with us to get started.
Oral health is essential for good health and confidence. Braces or clear aligners can improve it and your self-esteem. Visit Smith and Davis Orthodontics and see the difference exceptional orthodontic treatment can make to your health!