X-rays are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan. They are diagnostic pictures of the teeth, bones, and soft tissues around them, but they can also be preventive, because it is possible for both tooth decay and periodontal disease to be missed during a clinical exam, so radiographic evaluation of the dental and periodontal tissues is a critical part of the comprehensive oral examination. These are many of the reasons X-rays are needed:
- Identify problems in the mouth early, before there are symptoms, such as tooth decay (especially between teeth), damage to the bones supporting the teeth, and dental injuries like broken tooth roots.
- See teeth that are not in the right position or are not breaking through the gum properly, or are impacted, i.e., too crowded to break through the gums.
- Find growths like cysts or tumors, and abscesses.
- Evaluate the position of developing permanent teeth in children who still have their baby teeth.
- Plan treatment for extra-large cavities, root canal surgery, placement of dental implants, and difficult tooth extractions.
- Plan orthodontic treatment for teeth that need alignment.