How Are X-Rays Used?


X-ray images are among the most valuable tools a dentist has for keeping your mouth and teeth healthy. They are also called dental radiographs.

For adults, dental X-rays are used to:

  • Look for areas of decay that the dentist may not be able to see just by looking, such as decay between teeth
  • Look for decay under a filling
  • Look for cracks or other damage in a filling
  • Alert the dentist to possible bone loss from periodontal (gum) disease
  • Show problems in the root of a tooth, such as infection or death of the nerve
  • Help your dentist plan, prepare and place tooth implants, braces, dentures or other dental work
  • Look for other problems, such as cysts, cancer or changes caused by diseases of the body

For children and teens, X-rays are used to find decay and damage to fillings, and to monitor tooth growth and development. They are also used to:

  • Check on whether permanent teeth are developing and coming in properly
  • See if any teeth are impacted (unable to come through the gums)
  • Help the dentist plan, prepare and place braces

Colgate has formulated desensitizing toothpastes that can give you long-lasting results. All variants of Colgate® Sensitive toothpaste contain fluoride and potassium for cavity protection and sensitivity relief. Your dentist may use the Colgate® Sensitive Pro-Relief™ Desensitizing Paste as an in-office treatment to give you immediate relief that lasts up to four weeks. Colgate also offers a soft-bristle toothbrushspecifically designed for sensitive teeth.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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X-RAY Procedure

X-rays are typically performed in the office of a dentist or dental specialist. Here is what to expect:

  1. Preparation – first a dental professional will cover you with a heavy lead apron to protect your body from the radiation. Next the dental professional will insert a small apparatus, made of plastic, into your mouth and ask you to bite down on it.

  2. Execution – the technician will then proceed to take an X-ray picture of the targeted area. This process is pain-free and will be repeated until images have been obtained for your entire mouth.