Defining Dentistry: the dental X-ray

By Dr. Salina Suy

DENTAL xrayHappy New Year everyone!

Thank you again for joining in on this month’s “Smile with Dr. Suy” column and enjoying our continuing series, “Defining Dentistry.”

This month, we examine dental X-rays, our final segment in the series.

In a new twist for 2020, we still feature columns based on reader feedback. If you have a question or issue that you would like to see addressed, please email me at salinasuy@yahoo.com

Here’s to an exciting and successful New Year and remember to always smile on!

Up-close and personal

Dental X-rays are images taken at your dental office to help monitor or diagnose your oral health. There are two main types of dental x-rays:

— Intraoral (inside of the mouth): These X-rays are more common and focus in on specific areas of the teeth and jawbone. Intraoral X-rays allow dentists to look at details that help diagnose cavities, the health of tooth roots and the bone surrounding teeth. Types of X-rays include bitewings, periapicals and occlusal X-rays. Each type of intraoral X-ray is used for different information.

— Extraoral (outside of the mouth): These X-rays are more focused on the jawbone and skull. While details cannot be seen, extraoral X-rays allow dentists to look at the big picture — impacted teeth, jaw growth and development and any pathologies that might be present.

Some types of extraoral X-rays include panorex, cone beam computed tomography and cephalometrics.

X-rays should be taken periodically to monitor your overall head and neck health. They can be taken more often if you have suspected problems due to pain or other symptoms. Those with high cavity or periodontal disease risk will take X-rays more often. X-rays have grown with advancement and are taken with minimal radiation.

These may also be taken in conjunction with other treatments, including orthodontic treatment, root canal treatment, dental implants, temporomandibular joint disorders, sleep apnea, fracture diagnosis and trauma.

I hope this column has helped made you more aware of the diagnostic power of the dental X-ray.

— Dr. Salina Suy is an advocate for dentistry, health & beauty. She practices at Zalatan Dental Modern Dentist in Utica, NY.  Dr. Suy serves as the 5th District Ethics Chair for the New York State Dental Association, as Treasurer for the Oneida Herkimer County Dental Society and as an hospital attending at MVHS. For more information, call 315-724-3197 or visit www.modern.dentist.

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