Dental Blog

Dental X rays – Do we really need them?


Teeth look beautiful when they are healthy. But many times we will not be able to recognize defects in or between teeth, gums and surrounding bone with bare eyes. This can lead to aggravated dental problems like severe toothache, infected teeth, pus accumulation around teeth, loss of bone, swelling, and cysts and ultimately loss of teeth.


X rays or a radiograph of teeth is a very essential tool to detect any of these issues.


Dental X rays are basically of different types:


1. Intraoral X rays

They are commonly used to detect any defects in and around few chosen teeth. A single intraoral radiograph can cover up to 4-5 teeth and help us detect lesions


Are used to


  • Detect cavities,

  • The proximity of the decayed lesion to the central pulp tissue

  • The extent of damage of bone or bone loss surrounding teeth

  • Lesions in the bone surrounding the roots of teeth 

  • During root canal treatments to assess the length of roots/canals


2. Bitewing X rays

  • These x rays are used little less often in India

  • They capture 3-5 teeth from both upper and lower jaws. They are basically useful in detecting early cavities, carious lesions between teeth


3. OPG- Panoramic view of both jaws and part of the facial bone structure

They are very helpful in


  • Orthodontic treatment planning

  • Planning for dental surgical procedures

  • To plan for dental implants

  • To assess the extent of bone loss and its pattern around teeth. This is very much essential to plan for gum or flap surgeries

  • To know the extent of bone damage as in a trauma and for treatment planning

  • To understand the proximity and lesion in or near the sinuses

  • The pattern of teeth eruption in the mixed dentition


4. Occlusal Radiographs

They are used to study the lesions in a particular jaw


Safety of dental x rays

In India, dental radiographs are taken only on a need basis unlike in other countries where they are taken as a routine screening process.


Hence when your dentist in Jayanagar or dentist in JP Nagar suggests you for a dental radiograph, try to understand the need for it. It’s important to realize that dental X-rays are only taken when necessary for diagnosis and treatment. The radiographs should be all the more carefully suggested for children and for pregnant women.


You are free to clarify your doubts about the necessity of the procedure and offer consent only after complete information.