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What Are Dental X-Rays?

Dental X-rays give your dentist a clear view of your teeth, soft tissues, and bones of your mouth, teeth, and jaw. In fact, these imaging studies take place in your dentist’s office and only use a small amount of radiation. They show cavities, bone loss, wisdom teeth, and other important features your dentist cannot see during a dental exam. Moreover, these X-rays show your progress or condition after dental treatments.

young woman smiling

Why You Need Dental X-Rays

X-rays of your teeth and other oral structures find problems in your mouth, such as tooth decay, bone damage, and dental injury. Moreover, they also show teeth not growing or aligned properly.

X-rays play an important role in treatment planning. For example, if you suffer many cavities, need root canal surgery, have difficult extractions planned, or want dental implants, X-rays provide information needed for successful treatment.

If you have no tooth decay and the dentist considers you low risk for cavities, you only need bitewing X-rays every two to three years, as an adult. Teens get these X-rays every 1.5 to three years. However, children need bitewings every one to two years.

With tooth decay and high risk for cavities, adults need bitewings every six to 18 months. Teens and children undergo these X-rays every six months to one year, with tooth decay problems.

Types of Dental X-Rays

Dentists rely on four key types of X-rays. Specifically, these include bitewing, periapical, occlusal, and panoramic X-rays. Each type serves specific purposes and provides images your dentist needs for specific information.

Bitewing X-Rays

Bitewing X-rays use one image of your upper and lower back teeth. Your dentist checks for tooth decay and alignment of your teeth using these X-rays. If you experience any bone loss, infections, or severe gum disease, these X-rays also show those conditions.

Periapical X-Rays

On your first visit to a new dentist, you undergo periapical X-rays. These imaging studies show your entire tooth, including the bones where your teeth root. Your dentist sees impacted teeth, tumors, cysts, abscesses and bone problems in these X-rays. Furthermore, a full series of these X-rays involve 14 to 21 images.

Occlusal X-Rays

To see the roof or floor of your mouth, the dental office takes occlusal X-rays. These X-rays also show jaw fractures, cleft palate, growths, cysts, or abscesses. Therefore, if you have teeth not yet showing through your gums, your dentist can identify them through these images, too.

Panoramic X-Rays

Panoramic X-rays provide a wide view of all of your oral structures, including jaws, teeth, jaw joints, sinuses, and nasal areas. The dentist sees conditions like impacted teeth, tumors, cysts, fractures, infections, and bone problems.

Routine Exams and X-Rays Near Houston

Near Houston, Texas in Pasadena, Laughlin Dental provides the caring, professional dental care you need for your healthiest smile and bite. For example, dental services at Laughlin Dental include:

Contact Laughlin Dental for an appointment request by calling 281-998-4916.

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Hours of Operation
Monday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM By Appointment Only

A Better Smile Awaits