When you visit your dentist for your regular check-up, they perform a visual exam of your smile. This evaluation can tell the dentist a great deal about your oral health. But the dentist will also recommend an annual dental x-ray for a more detailed and comprehensive screening of your smile.
This type of imaging technology will allow a dentist to view the interior of your teeth and jaw so that they can more easily spot potential issues with your oral health. X-rays are completely safe for patients of all ages. But you might feel more confident in pursuing these scans when you know the advantages they provide. Read on to learn three benefits that a routine dental x-ray can offer for your overall oral health.
Diagnose Tooth Decay
A cavity, an early form of tooth decay, can come with recognizable symptoms like tooth pain or dental discoloration. A dentist can easily view a cavity on the surface of the tooth in many cases. But decay can develop in tricky locations too, such as between teeth, where a dentist might not see it with the naked eye.
Cavities show up clearly on an x-ray, however, so a dentist can diagnose decay easily with routine x-ray imaging. Then the dentist can offer swift treatment with a dental filling before decay can advance and cause lasting damage to the teeth. You can avoid more intense, costly restorative treatment with early intervention and cavity treatment thanks to regular dental x-rays.
Evaluate Tooth Pulp Health
The inner layers of your tooth can develop problems as well. But your dentist cannot view these parts of the tooth with a visual exam. A dental x-ray will reveal potential issues in the pulp of the tooth.
For instance, blood vessels within the pulp keep the entire tooth healthy. But restrictions or blockages in these vessels can make the pulp non-vital, resulting in what is commonly known as a dead tooth.
A dead tooth does not immediately require emergency dental treatment. But it could make the tooth more vulnerable to infections and other issues, so a dentist will want to monitor the issue. If the tooth suffers pain or becomes infected, you might need root canal therapy to restore your dental health.
Monitor Tooth Growth
The average dental patient will see all of their adult permanent teeth grown into place by adolescence. But teeth might shift and become crooked for a number of reasons after this point. A dentist can keep an eye on your dental alignment and mark any changes in the teeth’s position using x-ray imaging.
Then the dentist can intervene before you suffer from a major malocclusion. You can straighten minor alignment issues in your teeth with Invisalign.
Many people also have wisdom teeth which can cause major dental problems when they start to grow in young adulthood. A dentist can keep an eye on these teeth and extract them if needed before they create severe complications in your smile.