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Why does my dentist need to take x-rays?

Sensational Smiles Dental Wisdom TeethThere are two main kinds of x-rays, those taken in-chair and those that require a larger unit.

X-rays taken in chair are called bitewings and these are routinely taken every 1-2 years. Bitewings;

  • Reveal decay in between the teeth, an area that cannot be seen clinically.
  • Show the height of underlying bone that supports the teeth so that the foundation of your teeth can be strengthened back to health.
  • Display health of any existing fillings, crowns, bridges and implants to ensure issues do not flourish below the surface of the gums.

Other vital dental x-rays are taken using a larger unit. At Sensational Smiles, we are equipped with digital dental radiography that takes OPGs (full mouth x-rays), Lat-ceph (a side on view of the mouth) and 3D imaging so that all bases are covered. Being digital, they also emit less radiation than other types of scans.

An OPG can reveal pathology underneath the gums that is not clinically visible. This includes the presence of wisdom teeth, underlying pathology and health of underlying bone. OPGs are routinely taken every two years.

A lat-ceph is commonly taken as part of orthodontic treatment to assess the growth of the jaw.

There are a range of procedures that benefit from 3D imagining including;

  • assessing for suitable bone support prior to placing an implant
  • examining for canals prior to root canal treatment so that no canal is missed
  • crown and bridge assessments

How much radiation is emitted from dental x-rays?

  • Smaller x-rays have radiation similar to a flight from Sydney to Melbourne
  • A larger x-ray has the radiation of a flight from Sydney to Hawaii


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