What Can Dental X-Rays Reveal About Oral Health?

Have you ever wondered why a technician takes an X-ray of your teeth every time you visit the dentist? Rather than one, they do it for many reasons. As a patient, especially if you saw your dentist within the past year, it might not seem necessary. However, it is. Those X-rays provide incredible insight into what’s going on with your teeth, gums, and overall oral health.


Different Types of X-Rays


To provide patients with the best oral care, dentists rely on the results of the X-rays. However, to accomplish that, they use two types of X-rays. These include:

  • Intraoral – These X-rays use a device that fits inside the patient’s mouth

  • Extraoral – This consists of a machine that snaps images of the exterior of the patient’s mouth

The combination of the two gives dentists a much better understanding of what is or isn’t going on. X-rays make it easier for professionals to diagnose issues. At the same time, X-rays are more accurate compared to a visual assessment only. So, they play an important part in taking care of patients.


What X-Rays Reveal


Here are the most common things that dentists find on X-rays. Keep in mind that in addition to confirming a problem, X-rays also rule them out.




Often, it’s easy to see a cavity with the naked eye. However, that’s not always the case. When decay occurs between the teeth, inside of a tooth, or beneath a dental restoration, they’re not easily detected. In addition, a dentist can only detect decay at the roots by reviewing X-rays.


Wisdom Teeth


Sometimes, a wisdom tooth will erupt at an unusual angle. In addition, it can become impacted. In either scenario, the problem can affect surrounding teeth. To see the growth and development of a patient’s wisdom tooth, a dentist will rely on X-rays. With that, they can make an informed decision about whether to correct the problem or extract the tooth.


Gum Disease


Statistics show that more than 47% of adults in the U.S. alone have some form of gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease. Initially, gum disease causes redness and swelling. However, if left untreated, it will worsen. Eventually, the gums begin to separate from the teeth. Also, some patients lose bone or even have teeth fall out.


Developing Teeth


Regarding children, dentists need to stay on top of their developing teeth. Identifying a problem early allows them to make changes that aren’t hard on kids. In addition, quick detection often prevents a more serious problem from developing. These X-rays also help dentists better predict whether a child will need orthodontic treatments in the future.


Abscesses, Infections, and Cysts


Even if a patient complains about soreness, redness, and swelling that could indicate one of these, a dentist will need to take X-rays. That’s because these fluid-filled sacs are difficult to detect with only a manual examination.

Once confirmed, a dentist can then take the appropriate measure to provide the patient with pain relief. At the same time, they’ll work to improve the person’s oral health.


Bone Density


Thanks to modern technology, dentists can use X-rays to determine whether a patient has efficient bone density. Typically, they use the information before placing dental implants. After all, this procedure requires adequate bone strength and stability. For those with poor bone density, dentists can usually perform a bone graft. After the patient heals, they’ll then perform the dental implant procedure.

X-rays play a critical role in dentistry. First, they’re used as a preventative tool. Second, dentists depend on them to make confirmed diagnoses. The dental professionals at Reaves Dental in New Hartford, New York, provide full services for adults and children alike. For optimal oral health, schedule an appointment today by calling 315-736-0139.

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