Things to Expect Ahead of Your X-Ray Appointment with the Dentist

Many patients who visit a general dentist don’t often understand the full use of dental X-rays. While patients may wonder if this type of imaging is always completely necessary, and it is very important to understand all of the risks involved in the procedures and the benefits you can expect. 

If you are curious about this tool, learning is essential if you want to feel at ease at your next dental appointment. 


X-rays are used to diagnose dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, and infection. Without it, a general dentist likely wouldn’t be able to give the most accurate treatment plan possible. While the tooth may look sound on the service, the imaging could tell an entirely different story. An exam can be a timely process that can help prevent the need for emergency treatments. 

Imaging allows the dentist to treat the problem to ensure that it is less invasive. 

Procedure and Types of X-Rays

Often, a dental hygienist or assistant exposes the X-rays. A lead apron is used to place over the patient’s thyroid and abdomen as radiation is unable to be passed through lead. A sensor captures the X-ray image. 

Bitewing X-rays show the spaces between the teeth in great detail. Periapical images determine the roots of the teeth to allow the doctor to diagnose abscesses or infections. A panoramic exposure allows the dentist to see the jawbone, all the teeth, and supporting structures.


The frequency of X-rays that is needed will vary between each individual patient. Usually, bitewing X-rays are taken on a yearly basis. A full-mouth serious or panoramic will often be taken every three to five years. 

With more knowledge of dental X-rays, you can feel far more confident than ever before in the safety and efficiency of this procedure. People are constantly being exposed to radiation. The amount of radiation in dental X-rays is not detrimental to the oral tissues. 

For patients who are concerned about the frequency and use of dental X-rays, you need to speak to your dentist to ensure that you know what is going on during your appointment.

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