Bitewing x-rays are the most common x-rays taken in dentistry. An important part of your dental exam because they show both the upper and lower teeth, these x-rays help your dentist diagnose problems with your teeth, gums, and jaw, and are especially useful to examine the in-between surfaces of your teeth. A necessary part of regular dental checkups, bitewing x-rays provide your dental professionals with vital information.
X-rays use electromagnetic radiation to produce images of your teeth, gums, and jaw by forming wavelengths, which, while penetrating the soft tissue of the body are absorbed by the denser materials of your teeth and bones.
Benefits of bitewing x-rays
They are the frontline of defense against cavities and other problems that are often not visible to the eye. Tooth decay (visible and invisible), impacted teeth, bite problems, and even tumors are just a few of the dental conditions that can easily be found with bitewing x-rays which are especially helpful in finding tooth decay that may be located between teeth or below the gum line. They are also useful in detecting tartar buildup, and can even be used to measure bone loss due to advanced periodontal disease.
After a protective lead apron is placed over the patient, the dental hygienist places the T-shaped dental film (which gives these x-rays their name) in the patients mouth on the inside of the jaw, where it extends to cover both the upper and lower teeth. When the patient bites the tab in the middle, and closes his or her mouth, the film is securely held in place. The result is a perfectly lined up x-ray picture of both your upper and lower teeth at the same time. Should you experience a painful pinching in your mouth or suffer from a gag reflex once the film is positioned, the dental hygienist can often reposition the film to make you more comfortable.
Dental x-rays use high-speed film so the amount of radiation exposure is very low. Though machines vary, bitewing x-rays add only as much radiation as you would normally get in 4-1/2 days from natural sources such as sunlight, minerals in the soil, home appliances, and through the atmosphere from space.
There is a full range of x-rays available to your dentist that will provide him or her with a comprehensive look at your mouth, teeth, gums, and jaw at an initial visit. These include a full set of periapical x-rays often used at initial visits, and occlusal x-rays, which provide a good look at the jaw as a whole when necessary. Some offices, with state-of-the-art technology even use panoramic or digital x-rays as well. However, bitewing x-rays are usually the x-ray of choice for subsequent interval exams. They are easy to take and process for the dentist and can reveal the early onset of dental conditions before they do a lot of damage and cause you pain. This can save you from having to sit through a complete set of x-rays every six months. Its a win-win situation for you, your dentist, and your insurance company. So even though your teeth feel fine, it is important to have your routine dental visits, bitewing x-rays, and all.
Cosmetic implant dentistry is a specialized field that requires extensive knowledge and experience to be done correctly. The Medical Center Dental Group in Houston, Texas brings all of that and more to the direct benefit of each and every patient we treat. Although we are located in the world famous Houston Medical Center at Scurlock Towers, we routinely see dental patients who travel from Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Beaumont and Midland Texas to see Dr. Dale Brant, Dr. Charles Campbell or Dr. Elizabeth OSullivan-Winslow for their cosmetic denistry services.