Dental Exams and X-rays

Dental exams are an important step in early detection and treatment of gum disease and tooth decay. For your first time visit, we will thoroughly review your past medical and dental experiences. We will then perform a comprehensive dental examination that will include:

  • A review of your medical history including disease conditions and medications
  • Soft Tissue & Oral Cancer screening
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint) evaluation
  • Orthodontic screening to check the positioning of teeth and jaw bite
  • Complete periodontal examination (gum evaluation)
  • Complete examination of all teeth, crowns and fillings
  • Evaluation of wisdom teeth

We will consider all aspects of your medical and dental condition and give you a complete treatment plan involving different options to optimize your dental health. We will advise you how to improve your homecare that will reduce the need for future dental procedures.

Dental X-Rays

Dental radiographs (x-rays) are preventative, diagnostic tools that provide essential information that is not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental concerns and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, many problem areas may go undetected.

Dental x-rays may reveal:
  • Abscesses or cysts.
  • Bone loss.
  • Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
  • Decay between the teeth.
  • Developmental abnormalities.
  • Poor tooth and root positions.
  • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!

Are dental x-rays safe?

We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources. Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast film that cuts down the exposure time of each x-ray.

How often should dental x-rays be taken?

The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. We will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.

A “full mouth series” of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. It gives a great deal of information since it can involve up to 18 films. Another option is a “panoramic” radiograph that consists of one large film that is done with a special machine outside of your mouth. A panoramic radiograph is especially useful for evaluating “wisdom teeth”. A full mouth series or panoramic radiograph should be redone every three to five years if concerns are evident.

“Bitewing” x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth closed together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits. They are recommended once a year for most patients to detect new dental problems, especially cavities in between the teeth. If you have had very little experience with dental problems in the past, we may recommend that you have bitewing x-rays taken every two years. If you currently have many dental concerns we may advise bitewing x-rays be taken every six months.

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