When you attend your regular dental check-up, your dentist completes a visual exam of your teeth and gums. They can diagnose many dental problems this way and then provide prompt treatment so that you do not suffer lasting damage. So why does your dentist also recommend getting a dental x-ray once a year?
Your dentist cannot check all aspects of your oral health with the naked eye alone, and this imaging will assist them in providing optimal care for your smile. Health experts agree that dental x-rays are perfectly safe, but you may feel more at ease with this technology when you know what it can do. Read on to learn about three ways that routine dental x-rays will help you maintain good oral health.
Benefits of Dental X-Rays
Identify Hidden Tooth Decay
You might notice that you have a cavity, an early form of tooth decay, because you feel tooth sensitivity. A dentist can also see a cavity sometimes because it could make your tooth appear discolored.
But sometimes tooth decay is not always visible, and it might also form in hidden spots, like between teeth. If left untreated, decay will eat away at your dental structure causing major damage. It will not go away on its own, and cavities are easier to treat than more advanced decay.
Your dentist can spot this hidden tooth decay on a dental x-ray. The cavities will show up clearly, and then your dentist can provide prompt treatment to restore your smile.
Evaluate Tooth Pulp Health
Your dentist cannot see through the enamel and dentin layers of your teeth to check the health of your tooth pulp. While pulp vitality issues can sometimes have symptoms like pain or discoloration, you might suffer from non-vital tooth pulp with no noticeable symptoms.
Non-vital tooth pulp does not necessarily need emergency dental treatment. But it could put the tooth at risk of oral infections, so a dentist will want to monitor this issue. But they need to evaluate the pulp’s health in order to do this.
A dental x-ray can reveal if there are blood flow restrictions in the tooth pulp that could harm its health. Skipping this imaging could mean you have undiagnosed concerns in the interior of your teeth.
Monitor Tooth Growth
We lose baby teeth and grow adult permanent teeth by the time we reach adolescence in most cases. But if your teeth shift out of position, you could form bite problems and put your oral health at risk. Routine x-rays of your smile can monitor alignment concerns so that your dentist can intervene if needed.
A dental x-ray can also show the dentist your wisdom teeth if you have them. They can keep an eye on these teeth and if they hurt your other teeth if they begin to grow. The image will also reveal if the teeth become impacted and require extraction. The dentist can remove the teeth before you suffer long-term consequences.