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There are diseases of the teeth and their surrounding tissue that cannot be seen with a simple oral exam. Your dentist may also need to know the state of your teeth beneath the gums or know the condition of your jawbone when you are getting dental implants. This is when dental x-rays are needed.

In this article, we will run you through everything you need to know about dental x-rays

Problems That Dental X-Rays Can detect

For children, they may be required to have a dental x-ray to detect the following:

  • Signs of decay in the teeth
  • See if there is enough space in the mouth to fit all their incoming teeth
  • See if the primary teeth are lost quickly enough to allow the proper growth of permanent teeth
  • Impacted wisdom teeth for removal
  • Other abnormalities such as cysts or tumors

For adults, a dentist may require a dental x-ray for the following procedures:

  • See areas of decay, especially in between teeth that are not visible with an oral exam
  • Identify if decay is occurring beneath an existing filling
  • Check signs of bone loss due to gum disease
  • Check changes in the bone or the root canal due to an infection
  • Examine the mouth in preparation for tooth implants, braces, dentures, or other dental procedures
  • Show an abscess or an infection at the root of the tooth

Types of Dental X-Rays

A dental x-ray can be done either intraoral inside the mouth or extraoral outside the mouth.

Intraoral x-rays show many details, such as cavities, tooth rot, developing teeth, the jawbone, etc., while an extraoral x-ray focuses on the jaw and skull. These are used to look for impacted teeth and problems concerning the jaw and the teeth.

New Technology Used for Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays used to be done by developing an x-ray film in a dark room. The technology used for dental x-rays now uses digital imaging, which captures the image directly to a computer. This image can then be viewed on screen, stored, or printed out.

This new method uses less radiation and no wait time for the x-rays to develop. These images can also be enhanced and enlarged many times to show you where and what the problem is.

How Often Do You Need a Dental X-Ray?

Children may be recommended more dental x-rays than adults as their teeth and jaws are still developing. Because their teeth are smaller, tooth decay in children can reach the inner part of the tooth faster and spread quickly.

As an adult, you may need more dental x-rays if you have had extensive restorative work done on your teeth, drink many sugary beverages, smoke, or have periodontal disease.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

While all forms of radiation, such as the sun minerals in the soil and appliances in the home, can damage the body’s tissues and lead to cancer development, the dose of radiation exposure during a dental x-ray is minimal.


As various diseases and decay may not be visible with an oral exam, your dentist may require you to take a dental x-ray. Dental x-rays are used for different dental treatments such as wisdom teeth removal, detecting decay, and preparing dental implants.

Are you looking for a local dentist in Waterford? We at Dental House MI offer a complete range of dentistry services to ensure your oral health. Make your appointment today!

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Watch this video to learn how Dental House provides a safe environment for patients and staff during treatment. We also offer important information on how to keep yourself and others safe in the dental office.

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Ann Arbor Dentist Office
Hours : Mon to Thur 9am - 6pm, Fri & Sat 9am - 3pm
Address : 4860 Washtenaw Ave D, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Waterford Dentist Office
Hours : Mon to Fri 9am - 6pm, Sat 9am - 3pm
Address : 5979 Highland Rd, Waterford Twp, MI 48327
West Bloomfield Dentist Office
Hours : Monday, Wednesday to Friday 9am - 6pm
Address : 6595 Orchard Lake Rd, West Bloomfield, MI 48322
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