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A dental X-ray is a picture of the inside of the teeth, bones, and tissues of the mouth. It can show tooth structure, cavities, wisdom teeth, bone loss, and other things that can't be seen by sight only.
The following types of dental X-rays are commonly used. Each one gives a different view of the mouth, teeth, and surrounding area.
These X-rays show a single view of the upper and lower back teeth.
These X-rays show a whole tooth, from top to bottom, along with the bones that support the root. A full-mouth series of 14 to 21 of these X-ray films is often done during a first visit to the dentist.
These X-rays show the roof or the floor of the mouth.
These X-rays give a wide view of the mouth area, including the teeth, jaws, and sinuses.
Dentists use X-rays to:
The X-ray usually takes about a minute per image. You may get more than one image during a visit.
There is always a slight chance of damage to cells or tissue from radiation, including the low levels of radiation used for this test. But the chance of damage from the X-rays is extremely low. It is not a reason to avoid the test.
Dental X-rays are safe during pregnancy. So most dental work can be done while you are pregnant. Delaying dental care can make a problem worse.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your dentist if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Adaptation Date: 2/15/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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