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16 / 08 / 2017

Why Are Dental X-Rays Necessary?

Modern X-Ray Equipment Allows Accurate Diagnosis Of Problems At Our Ipswich Dentists

Most of our Ipswich patients will have had an x-ray taken at the Lighthouse Dental Practice at least once in their life, and very often more.

Sometimes this is done early on, soon after the patient registers with us, and sometimes, it is done to investigate specific problems.

In a similar manner to an iceberg; although we often consider the ‘tooth’ to be that which we can actually see, there is a lot more of the tooth that is hidden beneath the gum, and deep down into the bone in the jaw. It is this latter fact that enables our teeth to remain stable, providing that the bone is healthy.

It is always useful to x-ray a new patient to get an overall view of their oral health before we decide on any treatments that may be needed, or to determine areas where the patient needs to take special care. Often though, x-rays are also used to diagnose specific problems and we take a look at a few of these below.

Cavities

Whilst some smaller cavities may be straightforward to detect and may only require a small filling, others can go very deep into the tooth. Naturally, you would not wish your dentist to drill away the decayed matter only to find that it was too extensive to be filled. By taking an x-ray beforehand, your thorough Ipswich dentists are able to determine whether a tooth can simply be filled, or may need more extensive treatment such as a crown, inlay or onlay. Determining this in advance means a much better experience and outcome for the patient.

Root infections

Some dental problems simply can’t be seen with the naked eye. Whilst we can sometimes ‘guess’ the problem from what a patient tells us, we obviously need to investigate closely before carrying out any treatment. A root canal infection is a classic case in point. This problem arises in the canals at the root of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are located. This can be a very painful problem and can be complicated by the presence of an abscess. By using an x-ray, we can be sure of what the problem is and whether an abscess needs to be treated prior to performing a root canal procedure.

Gum disease

Although many symptoms of gum disease are visible above the gum line, such as bleeding or inflamed gums, problems associated with the more advanced form of gum disease, known as periodontitis, are found below the gum line and can only be accurately diagnosed using an x-ray. This type of gum disease causes damage to the bone in the jaw and can cause teeth to become unstable. Should this be detected, a ‘deep clean’, potentially performed by a specialist dentist, may well be necessary.

Are x-rays safe?

This is a fairly common question and we can assure our patients that x-rays are entirely safe and the level of radiation used is very small indeed. A few patients have pointed out that our dentists stand behind protective barriers when x-rays are taken but this is because we often x-ray several patients in a day. Multiply that by the number of days in the year when our Ipswich dental practice is open, and you can see the increased amount of radiation that this could potentially expose us to. Even this level of radiation may be acceptable, but this is a precautionary measure to protect the health of our staff.

For information about x-rays or to register as a patient with the Lighthouse Dental Practice, please call us on 01473 257379.

We are here to help you.
If you would like to speak to a member of our friendly team about any of the issues in this article please visit our contact page or call us on 01473 257379.

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stars 1

“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk ...“

Jenny

stars 1

“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantast...“

Dee D

stars 1

“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to...“

Earlmain L

stars 1

“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a to...“

Ginette S

stars 1

“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my too...“

Susannah B

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“Having not been to a dentist in over 25 years, I was a bag o...“

Nick K

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stars 1

“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk in the door. She is not onl...“

Jenny

stars 1

“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantastic; she went above and beyond ...“

Dee D

stars 1

“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to the dentist. A broken tooth ...“

Earlmain L

stars 1

“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a tooth for a few days and was una...“

Ginette S

stars 1

“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my tooth removed. I was instantly pu...“

Susannah B

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“Having not been to a dentist in over 25 years, I was a bag of nerves when I arrived, but I...“

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