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Dental Treatments

Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays are pictures of the teeth, bones, and soft tissues around them. X-rays are the only way for a dentist to see the extent of tooth decay, roots, crooked teeth, wisdom teeth, cysts, tumors, and position of nerves. X-rays are required for every patient at some point. The dental assistant normally takes the X-ray and begins by placing a small plastic piece inside the patient's mouth. The patient then holds it in place by biting on piece while X-ray is taken. The whole procedure does not last long and the X-ray films are ready for the dentist to review with patient during examination.

An X-ray in a young patient helps the dentist to watch for tooth decay, determine if there is enough space in mouth to fit all incoming teeth, find out if primary teeth are being lost quickly enough to allow permanent teeth to emerge properly, and check for development of wisdom teeth.

How often a patient gets an X-ray depends on medical and dental history and current condition. Some patients may need X-rays every six months; while patients with no recent dental or gum disease may get X-rays less often. Generally dentists take X-rays during a regular visit.