What are Dental X-Rays?

Dental films

As a common and essential tool in the toolkit of many dentists, dental x-rays are a common part of your regular oral health care. They are an even more important part of dental care for pediatric patients, as their jaws and teeth are still developing and changing. Dental imaging helps your dentist examine the inner structures of your mouth with the aim of identifying hidden or developing oral health problems that would otherwise remain unseen. When you’re done reading, you’ll have an idea what that next dental x-ray you get is showing your dentist!

Bite-Wing X-Rays

The inner structure of our teeth can hide developing oral health concerns such as decay or disease. By using a bite-wing x-ray, your dentist will be able to examine all the teeth on one side of your mouth from the crown to the jawbone. This will help them identify problems involving changing bone density or decay on that side of the mouth. They are also a useful tool when examining fillings for integrity changes or when a cast restoration needs to be fit (such as a crown).

Occlusal X-Rays

Occasionally your dentist may need to get a clear view of an entire arch of teeth. These are a typical part of pediatric dental patients care as this form of imaging helps to reveal the current development of the teeth and jaw. Pre-eruption teeth that are out of position will also be revealed with this form of imaging.

Periapical X-Rays

When a dental procedure is being planned that only involves a single tooth or requires in-depth knowledge of that tooth’s geography, a periapical x-ray can help. These x-rays show the dentist the inner structure of a tooth from the crown down to the tips of the roots in the jawbone. Root canals are just one procedure that requires the use of a periapical x-ray.


One of the elements of your oral health that a dentist watches over is your salivary glands. Conditions such as Sjögren’s syndrome may require Dr. Movassaghi to take a closer look at these glands. Following an injection of a special kind of dye, a sialography will reveal the structure of your salivary glands, including any possible abnormalities.

A common concern expressed by dental patients over x-rays involves the amount of radiation used during the procedure. Thankfully these concerns are unfounded, as x-rays use a very minimal amount of radiation to produce their results. Every day you get more radiation during your walk to the car than you get receiving an x-ray. Even so, the dental industry has made strides in reducing the amount of radiation needed in dental imaging, resulting in machines that use a fraction of the amount of radiation of yesteryear while producing superior imagery.

Dental imaging is an important part of your oral health care, so give us a call with any questions! The staff at Torrance Dental Group works under the guidance of Dr. Alireza Movassaghi to provide their patients with exceptional dental care. Call our office today for your next visit and ask us about the dental imaging we provide!

Alireza Movassaghi, D.D.S and Other Dentist Torrance Dental Associates is proud to be the home of Dr. Alireza Movassaghi, a USC School of Dentistry Graduate with 30 years of experience. His mission is to expand access to dental care throughout the Los Angeles area. When not engaged in providing expert dental care for his patients, he's taking in the latest soccer game and enjoying fine cars.
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