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When Does a General Dentist Recommend X-rays?
Your general dentist fills an important role in your oral health. If you consistently visit the dentist for checkups and treatment, you reduce your risks of developing serious conditions. Part of the dentist’s diagnose is taking X-rays of your mouth and teeth. This may occur frequently, depending on your dental issues.
The purpose of X-rays
Every time a person visits the general dentist, this professional will examine the patient’s teeth and gums. The dentist may even check the person’s neck and other parts of the mouth for dysfunctions and oral cancer. Though a physical exam can reveal certain conditions, X-rays give the dentist a clearer view. These pictures can detect small cavities, infections and other disorders of the mouth that the naked eye cannot see. Based on these X-rays, the dentist can give the patient the right treatment.
X-rays at wellness checkups
From the time a baby’s first teeth emerge, regular dental visits are critical. The general dentist recommends that patients come in for semiannual checkups. At these visits, the hygienist will clean the teeth and take X-rays. This allows the dentist the chance to identify problems before they get worse. Most patients will get X-rays at every wellness checkup. An exception would be if the patient is pregnant or nursing.
X-rays to confirm a diagnosis
Sometimes, a patient may feel tooth pain or experience discomfort in the jaw. The dentist may suspect tooth decay or an abscess. To get a proper diagnosis, the general dentist may take X-rays. With these pictures, the dentist can feel more comfortable moving forward with giving a specific treatment.
If the patient needs an extraction
A general dentist may wish to pull out a tooth for various reasons. One of the most common is wisdom teeth extraction. Whether the dentist or oral surgeon handles this, X-rays are one of the first steps to determining when to do this. The pictures will tell the dentist how close the teeth are to breaking through and how much room is in the mouth for them. If the dentist believes the mouth is not too crowded, the extraction may not be necessary. The X-rays will also determine how extensive and complicated such a surgery may be.
If the patient is getting implants
If the patient has already lost teeth or needs some pulled due to decay or damage, dental implants might be a good solution. Before getting implants into the jaw, the general dentist will take X-rays. By doing this, the dentist can see whether there is enough bone growth and whether the jaw can support the titanium implants.
An important tool for the general dentist
You may wonder why the dentist and staff member spend time taking X-rays at most visits. It should be clear to see why these images are so critical to your oral health. Without these detailed pictures, it could be difficult to spot developing problems and prescribe the correct treatment. If you have any concerns about getting X-rays, make sure you share your feelings with your general dentist at your next appointment.
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