When you go to the dentist, one of the parts of your exam will be x-rays. About once each year, your dentist in Summerlin will take bite wing x-rays of your mouth and teeth. About once every 5 years, the dentist will do a panoramic x-ray that encompasses your entire skull. These x-rays provide vital information about your oral and overall health.
One reason why your dentist takes dental x-rays is to examine the health of the bone tissue in your jaws. Receding bone tissue in your jaws can be a sign of dental disease. Bone loss in your jaws can lead to loose teeth or may cause a failure of a dental implant. Your dentist may monitor bone loss around areas of missing teeth and around any restorations that you have.
Identification of Cavities
Dental x-rays can show early signs of dental decay. These digital images are especially helpful at showing the signs of cavities in places of your mouth that are difficult for the eyes to see, such as where two teeth touch. The x-rays can also show related problems such as a cavity that has redeveloped underneath of a crown or a filling, which cannot be seen by the eyes alone.
Detection of Oral and Sinus Cancers
Your dentist may also use digital and panoramic dental x-rays to detect cancers of the oral cavity. The x-rays may show an unexpected growth that is beyond what the dentist can see when you open your mouth. Panoramic x-rays are especially effective at showing the maxillary and ethmoid sinuses. These sinuses are located around the cheekbones. A problem in these sinuses can lead to pain in the front upper teeth, especially if a tumor becomes large enough to compress the blood vessels or nerves. X-rays can also be used to detect bone cancers in the jaws.