A dental x-ray, also known as a radiograph, refers to an image that is taken using a low dose of radiation. A radiograph allows the treating dental professional to see into the tooth tissues, in between and around the teeth. A radiograph is used as a tool to help diagnosis of a number of dental and orofacial issues including the presence and extent of dental decay, bone loss as a result of gum disease and a variety of pathological lesions including cysts and tumours. They are also commonly used to assess fractures of the teeth or jaw and whether teeth are missing, unerupted or impacted. They are extremely safe and are quick and easy to take.
Radiographs are generally required when you have a dental check-up or if you present with a specific issue, such as dental pain. There are a number of dental x-ray methods; they may be taken from inside or outside the mouth and they range from small images taken of a single tooth or small number of teeth to larger images that can be taken of the whole oral cavity and surrounding structures. The type of x-ray taken depends on the information required by your dentist.