What can a dental x-ray show your dentist? 1
does your dentist know when you have a cavity developing between
your teeth, or a wisdom tooth beneath the gumline that isn't
growing in properly?
x-rays provide a picture of what's happening in areas we normally
cannot see. Early decay, impacted teeth, abscesses and bone
loss from gum disease are all things that dental x-rays reveal.
of different things a dentists uses x-rays for are shown below.
Decay under an existing filling
reason to visit your dentist regularly is to make sure that
no hidden cavities under existing fillings are creeping up
on you. Cavities show up as dark areas on your dental x-rays.
Canal Therapy - Endodontic treatment in progress
nerve in a tooth is badly damaged, either by an accidental
trauma or because of dental decay, sometimes your dentist
(or a dental specialist like an Endodontist) will perform
Root Canal Therapy, where a hole is made into the tooth and
the damaged nerve (or pulp) is removed with a special file
and replaced with a filling material. Usually the tooth is
later fitted with a new top called a Crown to help it remain
& Posts 1
your dentist (or dental specialist) will elect to place a
pin or a post in one of your teeth following Root Canal Therapy
or the placement of a crown or other restoration. The pin
or post provides added strength and helps anchor the crown
or restoration in place.
x-ray provides an excellent diagram of a tooth and its parts:
the crown (what you see above the gumline), tooth root and
tooth pulp (nerve).
dental fillings, early dental decay 1
types of dental filling materials show up differently on your
dental x-rays. The bright white filling above is made of dental
amalgam, while the gray filling is a "composite", white colored
filling. Each type of filling material has its own purpose.
Tooth on the way 1
wisdom teeth are really just a third set of molars that appear
usually when you're between 17 and 21 years old. For some
people the teeth don't grow in at all, and for others there
are problems with straightness and having enough space. That's
why it's important to see your dentist for regular checkups
to make sure everything is growing as it should.
all patients have radiographs taken every six months? 2
The need for X-rays is based on the dentist's assessment of
your individual needs, including whether you're a new patient
or a recall patient, adult or child, or pregnant. In most cases
new patients require a set of full mouth X-rays to evaluate
their teeth for underlying signs of periodontal disease and
for future comparison. Recall patients may require X-rays to
monitor their periodontal condition or their susceptibility
to tooth decay.
is a "panoramic radiograph." 2
as a panoramic photograph allows you to see a broad vista such
as the Grand Canyon, a panoramic radiograph allows your dentist
to see the entire structure of your mouth in a single image.
Typically, most dental patients have "periapical"
or "bitewing" radiographs taken. These require patients
to hold or bite down on a piece of plastic with X-ray film in
the center. Bitewings typically determine the presence of decay
in between teeth, while periapical X-rays show root structure,
bone levels, cysts and abscesses.
do I need both types of X-rays? 2
apparent through one type of X- ray often is not visible on
another. The panoramic X-ray will give your dentist a general
and comprehensive view of your entire mouth on a single film,
which a periapical X-ray cannot show. On the other hand, periapical
or bitewing X-rays show a highly-detailed image of a smaller
area, making it easier to see decay or cavities between your
teeth. Radiographs are not prescribed indiscriminately. Your
dentist has a need for the different information that each radiograph
can provide to formulate a diagnosis.
I be concerned about exposure to radiation? 2
All health care providers are sensitive to patients' concerns
about exposure to radiation. Your dentist has been trained to
prescribe radiographs when they're appropriate and to tailor
radiographic schedules to each patient's individual needs. By
using state-of-the-art technology and by staying knowledgeable
about recent advances, your dentist knows which techniques,
procedures and X-ray films can minimize your exposure to radiation.
if my dental insurance plan won't pay for the additional X-ray?
wise for all patients to know the limitations or restrictions
of their dental benefits plan. To control their own costs, some
insurance plans limit reimbursement to a single type of radiographic
survey. Occasionally they will allow coverage for additional
radiographs, providing that your dentist supplies them with
adequate information demonstrating why the additional radiographs
X-rays should be taken based on need, regardless of whether
or not they are covered by your dental benefits plan.
your dental benefits policy restricts coverage to one type of
X-ray, consider writing your plan purchaser (usually someone
in your Personnel or Benefits department). Your dentist can
help you write this letter.
you may want to adapt the following for your own letter. 2
am urging you to expand our dental benefits insurance
policy to provide payment of benefit for periapical and
panoramic radiographs. To develop an appropriate treatment
plan that will meet my oral health needs, my dentist has
prescribed both types of X-rays. The different information
provided by each of these X-rays is medically necessary
to ensure that my dentist has a complete and accurate
image of my teeth and their surrounding bony structures.
Any resulting expenses would actually result in a short-term
expenditure that will yield long term gains. Treating
my condition today may actually reduce future insurance
costs, since prevention is almost always less expensive
than having to correct a problem that's been ignored too
X-rays" from Nova Scotia Dental Association @
X-rays" @ http://www.drjay.com
modified to enhance viewabiltiy
Corner INternet Group, Inc. 1997-2004