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Is It Time for X-Rays?

You can't always tell if you have a dental problem just by looking at your teeth. X-rays give dentists a view of the interior portion of your teeth, allowing them to diagnose tooth decay, spot cracks and identify other issues that can affect your dental health. If you're not sure it's time for X-rays, ask yourself these questions.

How Long Has It Been Since My Last Checkup?

Dental X-rays are usually taken at least once a year, but may be offered more often, depending on your dental history and your insurance coverage. X-rays provide valuable information regarding the health of your teeth. Although dark spots on teeth can be signs of decay, in most cases, cavities are only noticeable on the surface of your teeth if the decay is extensive.

X-rays help your dentist identify cavities during the earliest stage of tooth decay, which means you'll probably only need a small filling. Filling cavities when they're small helps preserve the structural integrity of your teeth.

Do I Have a Toothache or Jaw Pain?

X-rays are always needed if you have pain in your tooth or jaw. The test can uncover a variety of problems, including tooth decay, cracks, cysts or tumors, impacted teeth or dying nerves. It's particularly important to visit your dentist if you have severe pain, as extreme pain can be a symptom of an infection in your tooth called an abscess.

If you have an abscess, your dentist will prescribe pain killers and antibiotics and will probably recommend a root canal. In addition to pain, other symptoms of an abscess include fever, swollen lymph nodes in your jaw or neck, swelling in your face or jaw or a boil on your gum.

Am I Experiencing Wisdom Tooth Pain?

Your dentist uses X-rays to determine if your impacted or partially impacted wisdom teeth are ready to come out. If there isn't enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth, you may experience pain, swollen gums, cysts, jaw stiffness, swollen gums, gum disease or damage to other teeth. In addition to determining if it's the right time to extract your wisdom teeth, your dentist will also consult the X-rays to locate nerves that must be avoided during the procedure.

Have I Experienced a Serious Blow to My Mouth?

Blows to your mouth can damage your teeth, roots or jaw. If you've experienced an injury, an X-ray will reveal the extent of the damage. If your tooth has broken, your dentist will use the X-rays to determine if the break extends to your roots. Extraction is the only option if your roots are fractured. If they're intact, your dentist can restore your tooth with a crown.

X-rays help keep your smile healthy. If it's time for your next dental appointment, or you're concerned about an aching tooth, call us to set up an appointment.

Sources:

Colgate: Dental X-rays

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/procedures/x-rays

Medline Plus: Dental X-rays

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003801.htm

Colgate: Potential Causes of Tooth Pain

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/tooth-sensitivity/article/potential-causes-of-toothaches-its-not-always-a-cavity-0213

Mouth Healthy: Abscess

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/abscess

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