According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 64% of adults over 18 years old visited a dentist at least once in 2019.
Visiting a dentist is the best way to stay on top of your oral care health, and you should aim to visit a dentist at least twice a year.
During a typical dental visit, the dentist might suggest taking dental x rays. You might not understand why you need them, and you might choose to opt-out of getting them.
The truth is that x rays are vital for your oral health, so here are eight benefits of getting x rays when you visit the dentist.
1. They Detect Decay Your Dentist Can’t See
When you get an x ray, the dentist sees the x ray results right away while you are there. When the dentist reviews them, they will look for signs of problems, including decay.
Your dentist visit might include teeth cleaning services and other steps, but the x rays are vital to your dentist, as they show areas of decay that he or she can’t see when looking inside your mouth.
When your dentist looks at the pictures of your teeth, they can tell if there is decay on any of your teeth. In many cases, the pictures show decay between your teeth, which is an area that dentists struggle to see during exams.
2. Dental X Rays Show Your Jawbone
During your dental visit, your dentist will also care about your jawbone. Getting digital x rays also tells your dentist information about your jawbone, which is a vital part of your oral health.
Your jawbone supports your teeth, yet parts of it can wear away over time. The jawbone tends to wear away faster when you have a gap from a missing tooth. It can also wear away from gum disease, decay, and infections.
Your dentist will look closely at the x rays to see the health and condition of your jawbone. If they spot any problems with it, they’ll tell you.
3. They Provide a Way to Locate Small Issues
Dentists can’t always find all the small issues inside a person’s mouth simply by looking or cleaning the person’s teeth. As a result, they rely on dental x rays to help them find all the small issues.
When you can find small issues in your mouth right away, you can prevent them from spreading and growing. If you can prevent this from happening, you’ll save time, money, and trauma.
Your dentist will tell you that it’s easier to fix a small problem rather than a large one. It’s also cheaper and takes less time.
4. X Rays Reveal Information About Your Wisdom Teeth
If you’re in your teen years, your dentist might use the x rays to monitor your wisdom teeth. If you’re an adult and still have your wisdom teeth, your dentist might also use the pictures to monitor these teeth.
For example, if you feel pressure on your regular teeth and don’t know why, it might be a result of your wisdom teeth growing in crooked. If your dentist doesn’t take x rays, they wouldn’t be able to tell you if this is the problem.
5. They Detect Root Issues and Infections
Another vital benefit of getting x rays is to detect problems with the roots of your teeth. Your teeth have roots, and these roots contain nerves and supply your teeth with oxygen.
If you develop an infection in your tooth roots, it can become very painful. In some cases, you might know that you have a tooth abscess because of the pain. In other cases, though, you might not feel any pain yet.
Through x rays, your dentist can tell you if there is a problem like this in your tooth roots.
6. They Help Dentists Solve Problems
There are also times when people feel pain, pressure, or sensitivity with their teeth and don’t know why. If you feel these things, you can tell your dentist.
Your dentist might begin by examining the teeth affected by the problem you feel. If your dentist can’t diagnose the problem by looking at your teeth, they’ll likely turn to x rays.
The pictures they take of your teeth tell a story, and this is often the way that dentists solve problems with teeth. If you’re having any type of problem with a tooth, make sure you tell your dentist.
7. They Are Safe
It doesn’t matter what type of x rays your dentist uses, they are safe. However, digital x rays tend to expose you to slightly less radiation than other options.
If you’re nervous about the safety of x rays, talk to your dentist about it. They can explain this to you and help you realize that getting x rays is completely safe, common, and normal.
8. They Show Your Mouth as a Whole
Finally, dentists use these pictures of your teeth to view your mouth as a whole. In fact, some dentists take panoramic x rays to capture an entire mouth in one picture.
A panoramic x ray reveals your entire mouth as a whole to your dentist. Your dentist can study this picture for many reasons, including to see if you have room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth.
You might not need a panoramic x ray often, but your dentist might recommend getting one every five years or so. You can ask your dentist to learn more about this type of picture and others.
Get X Rays to Protect Your Teeth
If you haven’t visited your local dentist in a while, you might be due for an appointment. You can schedule an appointment for a routine cleaning and dental x rays to learn more about the health of your mouth.
We offer preventative dental services and more. If you’re ready to schedule an appointment, contact us today to use our online tool to schedule your visit.