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The Importance of Dental X-Rays

The Importance of Dental X-Rays

The following case illustrates the importance of dental x-rays.  You cannot always see problems when looking at teeth.  Dental x-rays provide information that can help your dentist correctly identify problems or concerns with your teeth.

This tooth looks and feels normal.  An x-ray will show more information.

This tooth looks and feels normal. An x-ray will show more information.

Our patient above, was in our office for a routine dental cleaning and examination.  She has crowns on the remaining upper front teeth and a precision partial denture that replaces the upper posterior teeth.  We took dental x-rays of these teeth as recommended to evaluate better the areas that we cannot see and feel with a dental explorer.  The x-rays showed a severe lesion below one of the crowns that might have been missed without taking the needed dental x-rays.

This x-ray was taken July of 2012.  We can see moderate bone loss, and a tooth treated with a root canal and a post.

This x-ray was taken July of 2012. We can see moderate bone loss, and a tooth treated with a root canal and a post.

This x-ray was taken October of 2014 - about two years after the previous x-ray!  Severe resorption is present below the crown and surrounding the post.  The defect is very close to the alveolar bone.

This x-ray was taken October of 2014 – about two years after the previous x-ray! Severe resorption is present below the crown and surrounding the post. The defect is very close to the alveolar bone.

When the radiographic images are compared, you can see that within a period of about two years – the first x-ray was taken July of 2012, the second in October of 2014 – severe resorption is now present below the crown and surrounding the post. The defect is very close to the alveolar bone.  Unfortunately the tooth is non-restorable with this extensive of a defect and may fracture at any point.  Since we have some advance warning with the dental x-ray, we have a little time to come up with treatment options for our patient.  And our patient can be extremely careful with this tooth until she is prepared to have it extracted!

We often hear from patients that they do not want dental x-rays usually due to a dislike of x-rays for several reasons; often also due to fear of radiation or to save money.  We try to explain that we cannot always see problems present with the teeth, the bone, or the roots without the help of the information we get from dental x-rays.  This case helps to demonstrate this!  As always we want our patients to make informed decisions about their dental care.  Our office is in Grand Junction, Colorado and we would love to answer your questions about dental x-rays of other dental procedures.  We have high tech digital x-rays in our office that minimize a patient’s radiation exposure by about 90% compared to conventional x-rays in other offices.  Our office will also take only the necessary x-rays to help save our patients money and radiation exposure.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis, DDS

“Restoring Smiles, Restoring Health”