About Dental X Rays Part 1

About Dental X Rays Part 1

  • “Why do I need dental x-rays?”
  • “What kind of dental x-rays are necessary?”
  • “How often do I need to have dental x-rays?”

Here are some brief answers to these important questions:


Very simply, Dental x-rays make visible what the naked eye cannot see.

Dental x-rays are those “diagnostic tests” that the dentist needs so he or she can see what is going on that is not visible with just an oral exam.

Even more importantly, the proper dental x-rays may show areas of disease and damage that you as a patient are not aware of. There may not be bleeding, pain, or swelling. But there may be serious things going on in your teeth and jawbone that could cause irreparable damage to your body if not detected and treated early.

What Kind?:

There are many kinds of dental x-rays for different purposes. The most common are …

  • Bitewings
  • Periapicals
  • Full-mouth series
  • Panoramic

Other specialized x-rays include …

  • Occlusal
  • Cephalometric
  • Cone Beam CT Scan

 are x-rays that show the upper and lower teeth coming together in the back of the mouth. They help the dentist look for tooth decay between the teeth that are touching one another. They can be taken as “horizontal” or “vertical” bitewings. The “vertical” bitewing can also identify the level of jawbone between the teeth.

Here is an example of vertical bitewings:

all about xrays

Periapical x-rays show the jawbone that surrounds the complete tooth. These x-rays can help identify damage to the jawbone from excessive wiggling of the teeth (bruxism), an abscess from a dying tooth (root canal therapy), periodontal disease, and other lesions in the bone.

Here is an example of a periapical x-ray of the lower front teeth:

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Please see the About Dental X Rays Part 2 to complete this GDH forum article by Dr. Steven