A dental check-up is a thorough examination of your mouth to detect problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Other things your dentist will look out for include the condition of your existing fillings, the way you bite and even the appearance of your teeth. Afterwhich, the dentist will discuss and make recommendations as to how the identified dental issues may be treated.
Dental X-ray examinations are important during the routine check-up as it can detect problems which may not be detectable on the surface with the naked eye. For instance, common problems, such as hidden cavities, gum disease that progressed to affect the bone, infections or even the growth of impacted wisdom teeth may be detected on x-ray images.
There are various types of dental radiographs, and the type of radiograph to be taken depends on the purpose they are required for. Some common types of dental radiographs taken include:
Panoramic (OPG): 2D radiograph which shows the entire mouth in one image, including the teeth and their surrounding structures. This radiograph is useful in gaining a bird’s eye view of the dental structures.
Periapical: Shows a more detailed image of 2 to 3 specific teeth, from the crown to the tip of the roots, including the surrounding bony structure of the roots. This radiograph is useful assessing the ligaments surround the roots and also in detecting prolonged infection that has infected the bone surrounding the tooth.
Bite-Wing: Shows the crowns of the upper and lower back teeth of each side in a single view, allowing dentist to check for decay that may be present between the teeth where the naked eye isn’t able to see.