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Getting an x-ray of your teeth is often a routine procedure when you visit the dentist. However, you may wonder what x-rays are supposed to look for, who is more likely to get regular x-rays, and what types of dental x-rays are available.

What Do Dental X-Rays Look For?

X-rays create an image of the parts of your mouth the dentist can’t see. Dental x-rays are used to look for:

  • Decay under tooth enamel, fillings, or between teeth
  • Infection in the tooth root
  • Jaw bone loss
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Cysts and tumors

Who Has Their Mouth X-Rayed Regularly?

Some individuals are more susceptible to decay and other oral health problems. For this reason, these individuals are more likely to have their mouth x-rayed regularly. These people include:

  • Children
  • Adults with a lot of restorative work
  • Individuals with gum disease
  • Those who have a dry mouth

What Types Of Dental X-Rays Are There?

Different x-rays serve for different purposes in both the medical and dental industry. The types of x-rays commonly seen in a dentist’s office include:

  • Bitewing: This type looks for cavities in the back teeth and works by having the patient bite down on an x-ray film.
  • Periapical: This one only examines 2-3 teeth at a time and focuses on their roots.
  • Occlusal: This x-ray allows the dentist to analyze how the upper and lower teeth fit when the mouth is closed.
  • Panoramic: This x-ray machine rotates around your head to create a full picture of your jawbone and teeth.
  • Cone Beam CT: This type creates a 3D image of your mouth, but isn’t used very often.