The images of the teeth taken by the dentist to evaluate the teeth and the nearby structures are known as dental X-rays. The process is known as radiography.
These X-rays are used with low levels of radiation to capture images of the interior of your teeth and gums. This can help your dentist to identify problems, like cavities, tooth decay, and impacted teeth.
X-rays are divided into two main categories, intraoral and extraoral. Intraoral is an X-ray that is taken inside the mouth. An extraoral X-ray is taken outside of the mouth.
In adults, X-rays show:
1. Decay, especially small areas of decay between teeth.
2. Decay beneath existing fillings.
3. Bone loss in the jaw.
4. Changes in the bone or root canal due to infection.
5. Condition and position of teeth to help prepare for tooth implants, braces, dentures or other dental procedures.
6. Abscesses (an infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth).
7. Cysts and some types of tumors.
In children, X-rays determine:
1. If decay is developing.
2. If there is enough space in the mouth to fit all incoming teeth.
3. If wisdom teeth are developing.
4. If teeth are impacted (unable to emerge through the gums).
Commonly done X-rays are:
1. RVG: These are digital X-rays done for done when X-ray of special tooth/ teeth and its nearby structure is needed.
2. OPG: These are digital X-rays in which the images of all the teeth along with adjacent bone is obtained thus helps in analysis of all the teeth.
3. CBCT: These are digital X-rays in which 3 D images of dental structures, soft tissues and nerves are obtained. It helps guide tooth implant placement and evaluates cysts and tumors in the mouth and face. It also can see problems in the gums, roots of teeth and the jaws. Cone beam CT is similar to regular dental CT in some ways. They both produce accurate and high-quality images.
4. Bite Wing X-Rays: An image that depicts the maxillary and mandibular crowns of the teeth, providing a clear image of the interproximal surfaces of the teeth and allowing for detection of interproximal caries.
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