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All about x-rays

Doctor dentist holding x-ray

Having x-rays taken at your Dentist or Orthodontist likely does not rank high on your list of favorite things. Sometimes people feel reluctant about the process of having dental x-rays taken because these images are a kind of radiation. But what you may not know is that radiation is all around us.

We are exposed to radiation every day - from soil, water, sun, air, as well as cell phones, microwaves, WiFi, and airplane travel. X-rays are a form of energy that can travel through or be absorbed by objects. X-rays pass through softer, less dense parts of our bodies, such as cheeks and gums. Substances in our bodies that absorb x-rays, such as calcium in our bones and teeth, show up as white images in radiographs.

There are several different types of dental x-rays:

  • Bitewing x-rays - used to check on health of back teeth

  • Periapical x-rays - used to check on individual teeth

  • Occlusal x-rays - used to check an entire arch of teeth in the upper or lower jaw

  • Panoramic x-ray - creates a complete picture of the teeth and jaws

  • Cephalometric x-ray - used to evaluate position of jaws and angulation of teeth

  • Cone beam (CBCT) - a three-dimensional picture of the teeth and jaws

Why Do We Need X-rays?

Many conditions can only be discovered with use of imaging. X-rays can help us find and evaluate:

  • Cavities

  • Abscess/Infection

  • Tumors and cysts

  • Damage to a tooth's root or nerve

  • Injuries to teeth or jaw bone after trauma

  • Tooth development

  • Extra teeth or missing teeth

  • Bone health

  • TMJ health

  • Growth

Orthodontists typically take a panoramic and cephalometric x-rays. These are used to evaluate position of your jaws and angulation of teeth in order to properly diagnose any problems and create the best possible treatment plan for your bite and smile.

Are X-rays Safe?

You can rest assured that the amount of radiation you are exposed to with dental x-rays is very small. A typical panoramic x-ray exposes us to about the same amount of radiation we are exposed to throughout our natural surroundings in one day. Even so, the team at Godley Family Orthodontics is committed to ensuring patients are exposed to as little radiation as possible.

Dr. Godley follows the ALARA principle which means "As Low As Reasonably Achievable." This means using the lowest x-ray exposure necessary to achieve precise results. At Godley Family Orthodontics, we accomplish this by:

  • Taking x-rays only when necessary

  • Providing protection

  • Utilizing modern, ultra-low radiation equipment

  • Using x-ray settings unique to each patient

X-rays play an important role in helping us make sure your teeth and jaws stay healthy. If you have any concerns, please don't hesitate to contact our Zionsville, Indiana office. We proudly include x-rays in our complimentary consultation. We also make every effort to obtain x-rays already taken by other dental professionals, such as your dentist or specialist.


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