X-Rays: An Endodontic Necessity
Dentists rely on x-rays to properly diagnose dental disease and correctly plan treatment. X-rays allow dentists to view dental tissues that are not directly visible in the mouth.
Why Do I Need X-Rays for a Root Canal?
Initially, x-rays are necessary to properly diagnose the need for root canal treatment. X-rays give dentists the ability to visualize structures that are usually hidden by the gums. Three structures are of vital importance in endodontics: the dental pulp, the periodontal ligament and the bone surrounding the tooth. These three structures are impossible to visualize clinically during your exam. Visualization of these structures enables endodontists to recognize dental disease and anticipate the difficulty of endodontic treatment.
During treatment, x-rays are used to monitor progress and insure proper placement of the filling material. During difficult treatment, progressive x-rays allow the endodontist to navigate calcified or narrow canals. Dental insurance companies usually require a final x-ray after treatment completion for reimbursement.
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What Types of X-Rays Will I Receive?
There are several types of x-rays useful to endodontists. Before treatment, a bitewing and two periapical x-rays at different angles are used to judge the quality of bone and the shape of the root canals. During and after treatment, a series of periapical radiographs are used to judge the progress of the procedure and the quality of the root canal filling.
Bitewing X-Ray – These x-rays are taken by biting down on a special sensor holder that positions the x-ray beam parallel to the tooth. This configuration allows the diagnosis of three to four teeth at a time from the top of the tooth crown to halfway down the root. This x-ray is preferred method for examining the bone directly under the gums surrounding the tooth and the access to the root canal openings.
Periapical X-Ray – These x-rays use a different sensor holder that positions the x-ray beam to examine one or two teeth from the top of the tooth crown to the tip of the root. This is the preferred method to examine the path of the root canal and the condition of the bone.
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