Radiographs in the medical field are very important especially in diagnosing a lot of medical diseases. Their results help determine the presence of abnormal growths, organ enlargement, bleeding, calcification, and many others. But in dentistry, do xrays show tumors and other abnormalities in our oral cavity? How do dentists use their xrays equipment to ensure our dental health?
Dental x-rays: Their purpose and importance
X-rays, as we all know, capture the image of a specific part of the body using low levels of radiation. The image appears when the radiation is absorbed by a solid object like a bone. The light-colored part of an x-ray image is the solid parts of the body, and the dark side is either space or a dense body component.
In dentistry, x-rays are used to help find and determine your mouth problems that are not visible during your physical oral exam. For instance, you may be complaining of tooth pain, but since your dentist does not see anything visible in the naked eye or he wants to confirm something and would need additional imaging, dental x-rays are their go-to procedure.
Do xrays show tumors: What x-rays detect
Dental x-rays can benefit all dental patients and aid dentists in the diagnosis and treatment of a specific condition. Do xrays show tumors? Well, x-rays can show:
- Tooth decay in between teeth or underneath dental fillings
- Bone loss in the jaw (for candidates of dental implants)
- Infection (before or after root canal treatment)
- Changes in the bone (after tooth extraction or use of missing tooth replacement appliance)
- An abscess (pus under the crown, the gums, or the root of the tooth)
- Cysts and tumors (an abnormal growth that can cause pain and infection)
- Malocclusion (overcrowding or crooked alignment of teeth)
- Teeth impaction (especially third molars or wisdom teeth)
Dental X-rays: Safety and frequency
Are x-rays safe? We can say yes! Why? Because the amount of radiation that dental x-rays typically emit is relatively small. Moreover, there are now different advancements in using dental x-rays that help reduce a patient’s exposure to radiation. For instance, there are now different types of x-ray equipment and machines that emit high-speed rays so it limits your exposure time. There are also machines that direct the beam at a specific small area so only the target can get exposed to the radiation. There are also aprons that patients and technicians can use to make sure that their bodies are safe from extreme radiation during the image-taking. These innovative and technical aspects of this diagnostic procedure help patients feel secure and safe that nothing negative will come from getting their x-ray images.
But, how often can we be x-rayed? That is the question that some patients who are requested to repeat their imaging a couple of times would ask. Generally speaking, it is safe to get your x-ray imaging once every 6 months if you are monitoring for a specific condition. But if your dentist needs to get different angles of your mouth to determine the correct position, size, and location of a tumor or growth, then it is bound to be safe for you to have them repeatedly. Because come to think of it, your dentist or doctor wouldn’t request any repeat procedure if it would do you harm, right?