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Oral Exams & X-Rays

oral exams and x-rays

Regular oral exams prevent problems before they start.

Regular exams are important to overall dental health. Our dentist can evaluate your risk of tooth decay, check for gum inflammation or any abnormalities in your mouth and do an oral cancer screening. By using x-rays and other diagnostic procedures, we can determine if your teeth need any treatment and discuss any procedures. We want to put you at ease, answer all of your questions and prevent any small problems from becoming big ones.

Dental X-rays

Dental x-rays, also known as radiographs, provide us with important information about your oral health, beyond what can be seen by examining the surface of your teeth. X-rays allow your dentist to see the underlying bone and roots of your teeth, teeth that haven’t come in yet, and where your teeth come in contact with each other. Children may need radiographic examinations more often than adults, because their oral structures are growing and changing and because of their risk of developing caries. Radiographs can help dentists chart the progress of this growth and development and see if permanent teeth will erupt normally.
Dental x-rays can expose a condition before any signs or symptoms appear, so that it can be treated at an early stage.
Dental radiographs may reveal:
  • Small areas of decay in the teeth and below existing restorations
  • Diseases of the bone
  • Abscesses or cysts
  • Signs of periodontal (gum) disease
  • Developmental and other abnormalities
  • Some types of tumors
  • Evidence of trauma
  • Evidence of systemic illnesses
When a radiograph is taken, more x-rays are absorbed by dense tissues (teeth and bone) than by soft tissues (cheeks and gums), so bony structures appear lighter and soft tissues appear darker in the final image.

Are x-rays safe?

Dental radiographs involve very low doses of radiation, making the risks of any harmful effects extremely small. By comparison, the amount of radiation from a set of four bitewing x-rays is no more than the exposure you would likely get from a seven-hour plane ride at 39,000 feet. Use of a lead apron or thyroid shield will also limit the area of exposure during dental radiography.

Types of Dental Radiographs

Bitewing Radiograph – shows the crowns of several upper and lower teeth on one small film. Useful for showing tooth decay between teeth and changes in underlying bone from gum disease.
Full-mouth series – shows all the teeth, roots and related areas of the jaws. A full mouth series can be from 14 to 21 separate films.
Panoramic Radiograph – shows all the upper and lower teeth, large portions of the jaw and other mouth structures. This one large film is often used to detect unerupted or impacted teeth, cysts, root fragments and other conditions or damage to the jaw.
Digital Radiography – a recent technological advance, creates a digital image without using film. This image can be saved to our computer where it can be viewed on screen, enlarged for better detail, and easily transmitted by email if needed.
We look forward to giving you the best dental experience you’ve ever had. Call Tidewater Dental Group today at 757-424-1976.