What Can Dental X-rays Reveal Other Than Tooth Decay?

January 30, 2024

Dental X-rays are a good diagnostic means that serve detailed information about teeth and roots that are not visible to the naked eye. The good news is that dental X-rays can reveal things other than tooth decay, like gum disease, tooth and root positions, cancers, tumors, etc.

What Does An Oral X-ray Reveal Other Than a Decay In Tooth?

  1. Dental abscess
  2. Cysts
  3. Extent of bone loss
  4. Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
  5. Cavities between teeth
  6. Any developmental abnormalities
  7. Tooth and their root positions
  8. Problems inside a tooth or below the gumline

Dental X-rays can come in handy to detect and treat dental problems early on. This saves time, money, and unnecessary discomfort.

Two Main Types of Dental X-rays

You will be given two types of dental X-rays to choose from:

  1. Intraoral X-rays – film is inside the mouth
  2. Extraoral X-rays – film is outside the oral cavity

Other Issues That Dental X-rays Can Reveal Apart From Tooth Decay

Intraoral X-rays

  1. Bite-wing X-rays: They present details about the upper and lower teeth of an area. Each bite-wing dental X-ray reveals a tooth from its crown to the bone. They can easily detect decay between teeth and deviations in bone density because of gum diseases. Moreover, they can determine whether or not the crown is properly fit and the integrity of the fillings.
  2. Periapical X-rays: This shows the entire tooth from enamel to beyond the root in the jaw. Every periapical X-ray presents full tooth dimensions, including all the teeth in one portion of either the upper or lower jaw. They can detect abnormalities of the root structure and surrounding bone structure.
  3. Occlusal X-rays: They are larger and reveal full tooth development and placement, too. Each X-ray shows the entire arch, either the upper or lower jaw.

Extraoral X-rays

  1. Panoramic X-rays: They capture your entire mouth, from wisdom teeth to incisors, in a single snap. They track tooth development and spot impacted teeth and tumors, if any.
  2. Tomography: This technology virtually dissects layers of your mouth. Tomography dental X-rays focus on a specific layer of the jaw, other than tooth decay, to present clear pictures of the bone.
  3. Cephalometric X-rays: They produce images of the side of your head, revealing the alignment between your teeth, jawbones, and facial features. It helps dentists learn about tooth positioning and tailor braces or aligners for best results. Other than that, a cephalometric X-ray track changes in your jawbone over time for adjustments during treatment.
  4. Sialography: This specialized X-ray injects contrast into your salivary glands to make them visible on the X-ray for detecting salivary gland blockages, any presence of cysts, or even Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition that affects saliva production.

Closing Note

We hope that this blog catered to most of your questions and confusions regarding the role of dental X-rays and what they reveal other than a tooth decay. You can contact Saifee Family Dentistry at (281) 350-5600 to learn more about what we have in store for you and how Dr. Husein Alibhai, an active member of the American Dental Association, can help you. For details, visit us at our dental office.


Skip to content