Dental x-rays are a valuable part of dental treatment because they can detect damage to teeth and gums not visible during a routine checkup by the dentist.
X-rays can show the condition of your teeth, their roots, your jaw placement and the overall composition of your facial bones. X-rays can help your dentist determine the presence or degree of gum disease, cavities, abscesses and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors. X-rays also can show the exact location of impacted teeth and teeth that have not yet fully developed.
There are several types of dental X-rays, which record slightly different views of your mouth. The most common are intraoral X-rays, such as:
- Bitewing: This technique involves biting down on a special piece of paper so your dentist can see how well the crowns of your teeth match up. This is commonly used to check for interdental cavities.
- Occlusal: This X-ray is done when your jaw is closed to see how your upper and bottom teeth line up, and can also detect anatomical abnormalities with the floor of the mouth or the palate.
- Palatal: This technique captures all of your teeth in one shot.
- Panoramic: For this type of X-ray, the machine rotates around the head. Your dentist may use this technique to check your wisdom teeth, plan for implanted dental devices, or investigate jaw problems.
- Periapical: This technique focuses on two complete teeth from root to crown