Dental X-Ray or Radiograph 

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X-rays are a vital part of dental examination and will often be used to determine what is going on beneath the gum line.  X-rays are often used for assessing amounts of decay, how the teeth are growing and development of infections.  Often teeth can appear perfectly healthy but might have major problems which can only be picked up by the use of and X-ray. 

An X-ray is used as a regular part of your dental examinations and you will normally be required to have one when you join a new clinic.  They are a part of your health records and will be preserved so that any progress made can be monitored or any deterioration marked. 

X-rays can be taken of one or just a few teeth, of one jaw or of the entire mouth depending on what information is needed.

X-Ray Procedure

You will be asked to press your chin against a guard, and often you will have to bite on something in order to separate the two sets of teeth.

An arm of the machine will rotate around your head but will not make contact with you.  This takes the X-ray picture and transports it onto film.  Sometimes now these are viewed and stored digitally.  Throughout this process it is very important to keep as still as possible as any movement will reduce the quality of the X-ray.

The X-ray will be examined and deductions made.

X-Ray Risks

Radiation is the main concern when having an X-ray taken, although you really ought not to worry about it.  The amount of radiation an X-ray produces is very small and cannot cause you any damage.  You receive more radiation from other, natural sources than you will from an X-ray.  You might be concerned that your dentist leaves the room while you are having it done, this is only to protect themselves as they are exposed to radiation from X-rays often and need to try to cut down the amount of time they spend in contact with it. 

X-rays ought not to be done if you are pregnant and it is very important that you inform your dentist if this is the case.