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What is Your Dentist Looking for in Your Dental X-rays?

Last updated 6 years ago

When you visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings every six months, he may recommend dental X-rays. Periodic X-ray imaging will allow your dentist to identify and diagnose problems with your teeth, mouth, and jaw.

Dental X-rays fall into two categories: intraoral and extraoral. Intraoral X-rays give a more detailed look at the teeth, roots, and oral bone. Extraoral X-rays show less detail but are helpful in evaluating the development of your teeth, temporomandibular joint, and jawbones.

Intraoral X-rays

There are three types of intraoral X-rays that are frequently used by dentists.

  • Bitewing X-rays are used to look at your upper and lower back teeth. Your dentist will use bitewing X-rays to check for tooth decay between teeth, how your teeth fit together, bone loss, dental infection, and severe gum disease.
  • Periapical X-rays show your dentist your tooth from the crown to the tip of your tooth’s root, as well as the bones that support your teeth. Periapical X-rays help your dentist identify dental problems below the gum line and in the jaw, including abscesses, tumors, changes in the bone, cysts, and impacted teeth.
  • Occlusal X-rays focus on the roof and floor of your mouth. Occlusal X-rays help dentists view jaw fractures, cleft palates, cysts, teeth that have yet to erupt, and foreign objects in the mouth.

Extraoral X-rays

The most common type of extraoral X-ray used by dentists is the panoramic X-ray. Panoramic X-rays provide your dentist with an overall look at your teeth, jawbones, sinuses, temporomandibular joints, and nasal area. Due to the broad nature of panoramic X-rays, they are not used to find cavities or other minute signs of decay. Instead, panoramic X-rays show your dentist cysts, bone abnormalities, impacted teeth, tumors, infections, and fractures and allow him to see how the systems work together on a larger scale.

If you live in Manhattan, turn to the expert care of Dr. Kenn Kakosian, DDS for all your dental needs. From general dentistry to cosmetic dentistry including dental implants, Invisalign, veneers, and teeth whitening, Dr. Kenn Kakosian, DDS offers the dental care you’re looking for. Call (888) 775-8116 today to schedule your appointment.


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All content and information are of an unofficial nature and are not intended to be interpreted as dental advice.
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