Things We Can See When Comparing Old and New Dental X-rays

When you are a new patient, we may take a full set of x-rays at your first appointment. X-rays are a vital tool in dentistry. You would be amazed at what we can discover by taking x-rays of your teeth. We use x-rays for adults and children, but in children, though they are used to check for decay and gum disease problems, we use them for reasons that are not always required for adults.

For both, we can see tooth decay in areas that are not visible to the naked eye. Areas such as between your teeth would qualify as an example. Another thing we can see is bone loss due to gum disease. If you have gum disease and it is not treated, it can lead to bone loss. This bone loss, in turn, can cause your teeth to get loose or even to fall right out. For children, x-rays can help us prepare for future events. So why take so many?

Why Compare the X-Rays?

When we take a patient's first set of x-rays we call it a baseline. The definition of baseline is a starting point against which to measure something. For example, if you have an existing filling or crown, the x-ray shows us the condition of the remaining tooth. In the case of a crown, it shows the condition of the tooth beneath the crown.

This is the only way we can see the condition of the tooth short of removing the crown and putting it back on. We compare the later x-rays to the ones taken when the crown was put on, or when you first became our patient, and this comparison tells us if you have further decay or not.

When we compare x-rays, we can also see if there is bone loss due to an infection in a tooth that had a root canal or tooth that had an abscess. An abscess is an infection at the root of your tooth. If you are a child we use the comparison of x-rays for the above reasons, but also a variety of other reasons.

When we use x-rays in children, if their permanent teeth have not come in yet we can glean much vital information that will help us plan for the future. With x-rays, we can see if there will be enough space for their permanent teeth once all the primary teeth are lost. We can also see if the primary teeth are being lost quickly enough because an x-ray can show us teeth that have not yet erupted.

If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask at your next appointment.

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