Dental radiographs, more commonly known as “x-rays,” are helpful diagnostic tools that your dentist uses to check on the health of your teeth and bone levels. There are different types of x-rays that show different views of your teeth. For example, the most common type of x-rays, known as bitewings, are typically taken annually at your yearly checkup. These are used to check the bone levels and look for cavities in between the teeth in the posterior (back teeth). However, these only show your back teeth, so if you have a cavity in your front teeth, this type of x-ray will not show that.
Yes, it is ideal to have x-rays taken of both your front and back teeth. However, you don’t need to have them taken for both every time you come in for a dental visit. Another common type of x-ray used in the dental world is called a full mouth series (FMS or FMX). This is exactly what it sounds like, a complete set of x-rays of all of the teeth in your mouth including the posterior (back teeth), anterior (front teeth) and bitewings. Typically, this type of x-rays are only taken every 3-5 years. They are great at checking the overall health of your teeth and looking for anomalies that you may have not noticed otherwise. An FMX is a great baseline to have when first being established as a new patient for comparison in case something happens in the future. An FMX is also helpful so that if you ever come in with a toothache or broken tooth, it is easy to compare back to and see what has changed.
You may also need a panoramic x-ray. This is a 2D macro view of your entire jaw and all the teeth in it. This shows your top and bottom jaw, all the teeth in your mouth, along with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is helpful to view your wisdom teeth as many patients have impacted wisdom teeth that can only be seen in an x-ray because they are not visible when you look inside the mouth. Also, some people have retained or extra teeth that are in their jaw but also cannot be seen when looking in the mouth. A panoramic x-ray is the best type of x-ray for viewing this. Typically, this kind of x-ray is also taken every 3-5 years.
You will not need to have x-rays of your front and back teeth taken at every dental visit, but it is still a good idea to have a record of both!
If you are in the Kinston, NC area and looking for a dentist, please contact us at Carlyle Dental! We would be happy to serve your dental needs.