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The Importance of X-rays in Dentistry

It’s easy to understand why you need an X-ray when your doctor suspects a broken bone, but if your teeth are healthy (and definitely not broken), then why would you need one every year? And why do kids need them more frequently than adults?

Dr. James Butler at Innovative Dental Ideas in Hilliard, Ohio understands that you have questions, and just like all procedures he performs, he wants you to be fully informed about why and when dental X-rays are necessary. Here are the benefits of X-rays.

Dental X-rays are excellent diagnostic tools

The primary reason we use X-rays is to diagnose problems. For instance, if you have a tooth that hurts when you drink iced tea or hot coffee, you may have a cavity or an infection that can’t be seen on the surface of your tooth.

An X-ray shows Dr. Butler what’s happening inside your tooth so he can pinpoint the problem definitively and proceed with a treatment plan.

Dental X-rays allow for preventive care

Nearly all dental problems are preventable or fully treatable if caught early. By the time the problem surfaces, the damage has been done. Using X-ray technology allows Dr. Butler to see inside your tooth, foresee future problems, and take proactive steps to stop potential problems in their tracks. 

Just like check-ups and regular cleanings, insurance companies consider X-rays part of a complete preventive routine, knowing they enable dentists to take care of problems before they become more serious and more expensive.

Dental X-rays deliver a complete picture

Many dental problems occur under the surface of your teeth and gums where even the best dentists can’t see. But an X-ray reveals the entire scene, allowing Dr. Butler to view not only the insides of your tooth, but also the root, your jaw, and your sinuses.

This means he can detect cysts, abscesses, and tumors as well as damaged nerves and severe tooth decay. He can determine whether you need a root canal to clear away decay or a bone graft before he places a dental implant, and he can even tell if you have sleep apnea. 

Types of dental X-rays

Here at Innovative Dental Ideas, we pride ourselves on our green office operation and do all we can to preserve the environment and your health. To that end, we use digital X-rays, which use no film that would end up in a landfill. 

Traditional X-rays have always used a very small amount of radiation in the process, but digital X-rays use 90% less than the older technology, so everyone’s safer — you, us, and the environment.

These digital X-rays go straight to Dr. Butler’s monitor, where he can enlarge them immediately, so there’s no delay in your appointment.

CT scans

Another imaging tool we use is called cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), which allows Dr. Butler to see your entire mouth in three dimensions. It requires no protective vest, no plastic biting plates, no film, and it only takes a minute or two.

CT scans let Dr. Butler see everything an X-ray sees — and more. He can evaluate your soft tissues, nerve pathways, even air space, so he gets a comprehensive view of every angle and every aspect of your oral health.

When and where to get your dental X-rays

If you haven’t had a dental check-up or X-ray in a while, it’s probably time. Once we do an initial evaluation and you become part of the Innovative Dental Ideas family, we can give you a better idea of how often you need X-rays. And if you have kids, they may need X-rays more often, because their mouths are changing and are more susceptible to cavities.

To find out more or to schedule an appointment, call us at 614-529-0062, or request a time online.

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