If you haven't been to a dental clinic in many years, one of the procedures the dentist might want to do is to take panoramic x-rays of your mouth. While this is not something that is always completed during a regular checkup, there are several reasons dentists want to take this particular type of x-rays. Here are three questions you may want to ask before allowing your dentist to take panoramic x-rays.
Will your dental insurance cover them?
Dental insurance is nice to have because it covers a variety of different services, but it may not cover panoramic x-rays. You will have to ask your dentist whether or not your plan covers the costs of these x-rays. If it does, it may only cover them every three to five years.
If your insurance doesn't cover them, or if you do not have insurance, it may cost between $60 to $150 to get these x-rays completed.
Why are they needed?
Most people are familiar with getting traditional bite-wing x-rays, which are typically completed once each year, but some people are not familiar with panoramic x-rays, which are very different. A panoramic x-ray is just one picture, but it is taken of your complete mouth and jaw. When it is taken, you must stand still while a machine moves around your mouth taking the picture.
Panoramic x-rays are helpful to dentists because they show more details about the mouth, and they are especially helpful for finding the following oral problems:
- Gum disease
- Impacted teeth
- Cysts and growths in the mouth and jaw
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
Because panoramic x-rays reveal more details, dentists are able to locate and diagnose oral problems at earlier stages.
How much radiation exposure incurs?
When you get any type of x-rays completed, you may be exposed to small amounts of radiation, which can be dangerous, especially for people that are pregnant or that have weakened immune systems.
According to CNN, a panoramic x-ray may expose you to twice as much radiation as standard bite-wing x-rays. This level is still considered safe, but if you have some type of health condition that would worsen from this exposure, you may want to skip getting all types of x-rays when you visit the dentist.
Taking good care of your teeth is an important part of life, and you can do this by visiting a dentist (such as one from Havendale Dental Office PA). You do not have to get x-rays taken while you are there, but they can help the dentist spot problems while they are small, and this is important for good oral health.