X-ray examinations provide Dr. Mahlin with an important tool that shows the condition of your teeth, their roots, jaw placement and the overall composition of your facial bones.
X-rays, or radiographs, can help Dr. Mahlin determine the presence or degree of periodontal disease, abscesses and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors. X-rays also can show the exact location of impacted and unerupted teeth. They can pinpoint the location of cavities and other signs of disease that may not be possible to detect through a visual examination.
A patient's x-ray schedule is based on the dentist's assessment of their individual needs, including whether they are a new patient or a follow-up patient, adult or child. In most cases, new patients require a full set of x-rays to evaluate oral health status, including any decay or underlying signs of gum disease. Follow-up patients may require x-rays to check for any new decay or monitor their gum disease condition. Comparison of past and present x-rays is a valuable tool in detecting changes.
Typically, most dental patients have "periapical" or "bitewing" x-rays taken. These require patients to hold or bite down on a piece of plastic with x-ray film in the center. Bitewing x-rays typically determine the presence of decay in between teeth, while periapical x-rays show root structure, bone levels, cysts and abscesses.
What is a panoramic x-ray? Just as a panoramic photograph allows you to see a broad view such as the Grand Canyon, a panoramic radiograph allows your dentist to see the entire structure of your mouth in a single image. Within one large film, panoramic x-rays reveal all of your upper and lower teeth and parts of your jaw.
What is apparent through one type of x-ray often may not be visible on another. The panoramic x-ray will give Dr. Mahlin a general and comprehensive view of your entire mouth on a singe film, which a periapical or bitewing cannot show. On the other hand, periapical or bitewing x-rays show a highly-detailed image of a smaller area, making it more focused and clearer for Dr. Mahlin to see decay or cavities between your teeth. Radiographs are not prescribed indiscriminately. Your dentist has a need for the different information that each x-ray can provide to formulate a diagnosis.
Dr. Mahlin is sensitive to patient's concerns about exposure to radiation. Dr. Mahlin has been trained to prescribe radiographs when they are appropriate and to tailor x-ray schedules to each patient's individual needs. By using state-of-the-art equipment and film, and by staying knowledgeable about recent advances in low radiation technology, Dr. Mahlin knows which techniques, procedures and x-ray films can minimize your exposure to radiation.
If you have any questions regarding dental radiographs, Dr. Mahlin would be happy to discuss them with you.