Published: 02/19/2019

While working in his cathode-ray tube laboratory in 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen discovered the x-ray. This led to the first dental x-ray of a living person, which was taken by a prominent dentist in New Orleans by the name of C. Edmund Kells in 1896. Dentists quickly understood the benefits of x-rays and how the technology could help them diagnose and treat a wide range of dental conditions. Although x-ray technology has advanced, these images are still a crucial component to comprehensive dental treatment today.

Why You Need Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays provide valuable information not visible during a standard visual exam. Both dentists and hygienists use this information to help detect dental abnormalities, so they can put together the right treatment plan for their patients. Some common dental issues that x-rays can reveal include:

  • Bone loss
  • Decay between the teeth
  • Abscesses or cysts
  • Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
  • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line

Types of Dental X-Rays

The ability to see inside a tooth and beneath the gums is essential to the proper diagnosis and treatment of many dental conditions. In fact, without x-rays, more patients would experience unnecessary pain and discomfort and possible tooth loss simply because gum disease and decay would go undetected. Here are a few common x-ray types.

Full Mouth Series (FMS) – Often taken during an initial oral exam and retaken every few years to detect any existing problems or potential issues before they start.

Bite Wings – A series of two or four films that contain images of both the top and bottom back teeth.

Panoramic – A large, single x-ray film that shows all the bony structures of the face and teeth.

Safety of Dental X-Rays

Although x-rays do require very low levels of radiation, they are considered to be a safe and effective method for capturing needed images of the teeth and gums. As an additional precaution, a leaded apron is often used to protect the abdomen. Women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and children also sometimes wear a leaded thyroid collar to further protect their bodies from the low-level radiation.

Learn More About Dental X-Rays

At Shore Smiles Dental, we’re dedicated to keeping our patients safe while providing exceptional dental care. Contact us to schedule your comprehensive exam today.

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