Plastic Surgery

Dental radiography (X-ray)

What is the Dental radiography (X-ray)?

A radiographic image is formed by a controlled burst of X-ray radiation which penetrates oral structures at different levels, depending on varying anatomical densities, before striking the film or sensor. Teeth appear lighter because less radiation penetrates them to reach the film. Dental caries, infections and other changes in the bone density, and the periodontal ligament, appear darker because X-rays readily penetrate these less dense structures. Dental restorations (fillings, crowns) may appear lighter or darker, depending on the density of the material.

When Dental radiography is used?

For children, radiographs are used to watch for decay and to monitor tooth growth and development. Dentists will use periodic X-rays to see whether a space in the mouth to fit all the new teeth, whether primary teeth are being lost quickly enough to allow permanent teeth to erupt properly, whether extra (supernumerary) teeth are developing or whether any teeth are impacted (unable to emerge through the gums).

For adults, radiographs can:
- show areas of decay that your dentist may not be able to see with just a visual examination, such as tiny pits of decay that might occur between teeth;
- find decay that is developing underneath an existing filling;
- find cracks or other damage in an existing filling;
- alert the dentist to possible bone loss associated with periodontal (gum) disease;
- reveal problems in the root canal, such as infection or death of the nerve;
- help your dentist plan, prepare and place tooth implants, orthodontic treatments, dentures or other dental work;
- reveal other abnormalities such as cysts, cancer and changes associated with metabolic and systemic diseases (such as Paget's disease and lymphoma).

The main categories of x-rays

X-rays are divided into two main categories: intraoral, which means that the X-ray film is inside the mouth; and extraoral, which means that the film is outside the mouth.

Intraoral X-rays are the most common radiographs made. Because they give a high level of detail, these are the X-rays that allow dentists to find caries, look at the tooth roots, check the health of the bony area surrounding the tooth, see the status of developing teeth, and otherwise monitor good tooth health.

Extraoral X-rays are made with the film outside the mouth. These can be considered the ‘big picture’ X-rays. They show teeth, but their main focus is on the jaw or skull. Extraoral radiographs are used for monitoring growth and development, looking at the status of impacted teeth, examining the relationships between teeth and jaws and examining the temporomandibular joint or other bones of the face. Extraoral X-rays are less detailed than intraoral X-rays, so they are not used for detecting caries or flaws in individual teeth.

Recovery period and recommendations

Possible side effects and mayor concerns

The dosage of X-ray radiation received by a dental patient is typically small, equivalent to a few days' worth of background environmental radiation exposure.

How often X-rays should be taken depends on your present oral health, your age, your risk for disease, and any signs and symptoms of oral disease.






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