Dental Radiography

Whilst we try and keep radiaton levels to a minimum, dental radiography plays a huge role in the diagnosis of dental disease. We take radiographs at intervals recommended by the Faculty of General Dental Practice, and will always discuss with you the reasons why a radiograph is being taken. At Bembridge Dental, we have a digital x-ray system which means that we can easily discuss with you our findings on a computer screen. Below we have listed the four main types of radiograph used in dentistry, and the rationale behind each.

Bitewing

This radiograph is taken to check for dental decay and to assess bone levels. The frequency with which they are taken is dependant on your oral condition, for example someone who has had very little dentistry and maintains good oral hygiene may require bitewings at two yearly intervals; whereas someone who has a heavily restored dentition and requires dental treatment relatively frequently may need them taking every six months. For children above the age of eight, the recommendation is every 12 -18 months.

Periapical

This is a tooth specific radiograph, that is usually taken to assess a specific problem you are having. It is quite common to have one of these taken if you are experiencing pain, swelling, or if there is any doubt about infection being present. They are also taken before any crown, inlay or similar restoration, to be sure that the tooth is sufficiently healthy at that time to accept the restoration. if you are having root treatment, a radiograph will be taken before and immediately after, and also at intervals following the completion to assess for healing.

OPG

This is a radiograph that shows all of your teeth, your TMJ, sinus space and full mandible. They are taken to assess general anatomy, usually before extractions and other surgical procedures. For wisdom tooth extraction, we can see the location of your ID nerve (the one that supplies sensation to half of you lower jaw), and for upper teeth extractions we can assess how close the end of the root is to your sinus. These radiographs are also taken before orthodontic treatment, and are useful for implant procedures.

Cone Beam Computerised Tomography

This is a type of image that shows the anatomy layer by layer, giving a 3D image of the site being viewed. For implants and other surgical procedures, it is useful as it gives an accurate view of your nerve structures, minimising the risks involved in those procedures. It is also becoming increasingly common to use this type of imaging for endodontic procedures, whereby the root canals can be seen clearly, including what we call lateral canals.

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