If you regularly visit the dentist, you’ll know that at least once a year, you’ll have to get dental X-rays taken of your teeth, jaw, and entire mouth. These X-rays can help diagnose a number of problems and foresee potential issues and prevent them from happening. But what can dental X-rays actually catch?
Issues X-Rays Catch
- Cavities: Dental X-rays will show decay in the tooth. Sometimes the decay can be caught before it turns into a cavity, and the dentist will keep an eye on the area. The X-ray will also catch cavities on multiple sides of the tooth, in areas where you may not have a toothache or tooth sensitivity. The dentist will also be able to tell from an X-ray if the cavity has done deep enough that you would need a root canal or more in depth procedure.
- Wisdom teeth placement: Wisdom teeth are your last set of molars that appear for most people in their late teens or early twenties. The biggest problem with wisdom teeth is that they often do not align with the rest of our teeth, and can make the rest of the teeth in our mouth crooked. Wisdom teeth can also become impacted, meaning they only partially break through the gum and are otherwise trapped in the soft tissue or jawbone. Impacted wisdom teeth can let bacteria enter the area and cause an infection. X-rays can help a dentist see how your wisdom teeth are going to come in, and whether or not they need to be removed to prevent further problems.
- Bone loss: When your dentist takes a periapical X-ray, it shows the entire tooth, from the exposed top of the tooth to the root and the bone that supports the tooth. Seeing potential problems below the gum line and in the jaw bone is an important use of the X-ray. Bone loss in the jaw can result from missing teeth, as using your teeth through chewing and biting helps to keep your jawbone strong. If the body no longer needs that part of bone, it will start to deteriorate and resorb. Periodontal disease can also be a reason for bone loss seen on a dental X-ray. This includes gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, which can develop into periodontitis, which is a more serious gum infection that can affect the jawbone. Left untreated, these diseases can lead to loss of teeth.
- Abscesses/cysts/tumors: Because dental X-rays capture images of the areas surrounding the teeth, it may catch more serious issues that a regular exam would not. This includes abscesses, cysts, and tumors that may be within the jaw or sinuses, underneath the gum or hidden behind teeth. Catching these things on X-rays is important before they can grow or become infected and have a much bigger impact if left untreated.
If you are located in the North Phoenix area and would like to schedule a dental checkup, please call us today at 602-482-5100. Dr. Bundalo is a top-rated dentist in the Phoenix area.