Dental X rays provide your dentist with a clear view of your oral structures and bones. These radiographs play a key role in your dental care. Using X rays, your dentist diagnoses potential issues before they become visible or painful for you. But what are X rays, really, and when do you need them?

What are dental X rays?

dentist looks at dental x raysDental X rays pass energy through soft tissues of your mouth like gums and cheeks. Dense tissues, including teeth and bone, absorb these rays. There are two main categories of dental X rays: intraoral and extraoral. Extraoral X rays take place from outside of your mouth and show less detail than intraoral X rays.

Intraoral X rays are images from inside your mouth. These are the most common dental X rays. They give the dentist clear detail of teeth, bones and supporting tissues. Using intraoral X rays, the dentist can find cavities, examine tooth roots, check bone health, diagnose periodontal disease, see developing teeth and watch your tooth health for prevention of problems.

Beyond the categories of X rays are types of these imaging studies. Which type your dentist needs for your dental care depends on your dental health, age, and other issues.

The most common types of oral X rays include:

  • Periapical, showing entire teeth from the crown to the bone
  • Bite-wing, showing both upper and lower teeth
  • Panoramic, showing teeth, jaws, sinuses, nasal areas and jaw joints
  • Occlusal, showing the mouth floor and the bite of the upper or lower jaw

When do you need X rays of your teeth and oral structures?

X rays are important components of regular dental care. The current condition of your mouth and your individual medical and dental history determines when and how often you need these images taken. Some people have X rays made every six months, whereas others only need them every few years or so.

Children and teenagers with a history of many oral health issues, such as cavities, may need frequent X rays. The dentist may require them every six months or annually, depending on the child’s age. If a child is at high risk for oral health problems like decay, dentists refer to X rays more frequently than for children with fewer health concerns. X rays are helpful in watching tooth development status, too.

People with many dental restorations, such as fillings, crowns, bridges or other devices need X rays so the dentist can check for decay beneath these restorations or in other areas. The same is true for people with gum disease. X rays enable the dentist to see early signs of bone loss that leads to gum surgery.

X rays play an important role for people with dry mouth, a condition causing the pH levels in the mouth to become imbalanced. Dry mouth from medicines, cancer treatment or as a long-term disease effect causes mineral loss and more cavities in teeth.

People who smoke or use chewing tobacco need regular X rays, as these habits increase bone loss around teeth, periodontal disease and cavities.

X Rays As Part of Your North Mississippi Dentistry Care

Patients of North Mississippi Family Dentistry in Tupelo, Mississippi receive dental imaging studies in the dentist’s office. These X rays ensure that our staff can detect dental concerns before they become bigger problems.

North Mississippi Family Dentistry provides dental care for patients from all over the Tupelo area. Services include:

The compassionate professionals of North Mississippi Family Dentistry can meet your family’s dental needs. Our team is eager to welcome you as a patient. Call North Mississippi Dentistry now at 662-635-8051 for your consultation.