When you visit your dentist for a regular check-up, your dentist will perform a visual exam of your smile. They check your teeth and gums for signs of cavities, gum disease, and other concerns. After this thorough evaluation, you might wonder why your dentist will also recommend a dental x-ray.
A dentist can determine a great deal about your oral health during a visual examination, but they cannot see the inside of your teeth for complete comprehension of your smile’s well-being. Dental x-rays can provide more details about your oral health. And they are perfectly safe to receive on an annual basis.
You can feel more confident about your routine dental x-ray when you understand the benefits this imaging can provide for your oral health. Read on to discover three crucial uses of dental x-rays.
Identify Tooth Decay
Most of us will suffer from tooth decay, which can advance to create a hole in our teeth called a cavity. Sometimes, cavities present with noticeable symptoms that a dentist can identify. They appear with white or dark discoloration on the tooth or a visible hole in the enamel.
However, decay can also develop in spots hidden from the naked eye, such as between two teeth. In order to diagnose and treat this tooth decay, the dentist needs to locate it.
Decay will display clearly on a dental x-ray, so you should seek regular x-ray imaging for early dental intervention with tooth decay. Otherwise, decay can advance and cause significant and irreversible damage to your smile.
Evaluate Tooth Pulp Health
A dentist can view the outer layer of your teeth, enamel, during a visual exam. But in order to spot problems within the interior of your teeth, the dentist will need to see it through x-ray imaging.
The pulp of your teeth can sustain damage after a dental injury. For instance, the blood vessels in the tooth pulp might suffer a blockage that will make the tooth non-vital. This could increase your risk of serious oral infections.
Sometimes you might not realize you have this major dental issue without imaging that can reveal this problem. Talk to your dentist about scheduling a dental x-ray at your next appointment.
Monitor Tooth Growth
The average dental patient will see all of their adult teeth grown into place by puberty. But many people also have wisdom teeth that may start to grow later in life. These extra molars can bring complications to your oral health and may require extraction.
With a dental x-ray, a dentist can monitor the position of these wisdom teeth and intervene before they cause problems with your smile. An x-ray will clearly reveal teeth below the gumline.
The dental x-ray can also show any changes in the position of your teeth. Sometimes, teeth can grow crooked over time. Consistent x-ray imaging will show if you have alignment issues forming in your smile. Then a dentist can treat the problem before it becomes extreme.