If you have had the opportunity to visit your dentist's office in the recent past, you are familiar with the important role x-rays play in the dental field. Dental hygienists are responsible for accurately securing images of your mouth that a dentist can use to make treatment decisions.
If you are thinking about trying to save money at your next appointment by opting not to invest in dental x-rays, here are three reasons why you might want to reconsider.
1. A dental x-ray can show bone loss.
Losing density in the bone surrounding your teeth can have disastrous consequences. Bone loss is one of the common contributors to periodontal disease. Each healthy tooth has a pocket (generally 3mm deep or less) that protects your jaw bone. When you don't have your teeth cleaned properly, harmful bacteria can begin to multiply within these pockets, resulting in bone loss.
The harmful effects of periodontal disease cannot be reversed, but by investing in dental x-rays you give your dentist the ability to identify bone loss before it becomes too serious and create a treatment plan that will help prevent additional bone loss in the future.
2. A dental x-ray is the only way your dentist can identify decay under existing fillings or crowns.
Just because you have received a filling or crown in the past doesn't mean that your teeth are immune to cavities in the future. Decay under existing fillings or crowns can be a serious problem, and the only way for your dentist to identify this decay is through dental x-rays.
If left untreated, decay under existing dental work could result in the loss of the tooth. Losing a tooth has many hidden consequences, including a 25% loss in the width of your jawbone in the year immediately following your tooth loss. Be sure to ask your dental hygienist for x-rays to prevent the problems associated with tooth loss caused by hidden decay.
3. Dental x-rays help your dentist identify infection.
Infection at the root of a tooth, commonly referred to as an abscess, can be serious. An abscess that is left untreated can progress and cause serious medical conditions like Ludwig's angina or difficulty swallowing and breathing.
Regular dental x-rays allow staff members at your dentist's office to identify and treat abscessed teeth before they become life-threatening.
Working with a dental hygienist in your area to maintain current dental x-rays at all times will allow you to receive the best possible dental care in the future.