What to Expect When Getting X-rays From a General Dentist

Mar 28, 2021

Dental X-rays are an essential diagnostic tool used by dentists to detect dental problems that may not be visible during a routine oral examination. X-rays can help identify cavities, gum disease, impacted teeth, and other dental issues. If you’re scheduled for X-rays during your dental appointment, here’s what you can expect:


Before getting X-rays, your dentist will ask you about your medical history, including any recent surgeries or medical conditions. It’s important to disclose any health issues that may affect the X-ray results or the procedure. For example, if you are pregnant, your dentist may recommend postponing the X-ray until after your pregnancy.

Types of X-rays

There are different types of dental X-rays that your dentist may recommend, depending on your age, oral health, and symptoms. Some of the most common types of X-rays include:

  • Bitewing X-rays: These X-rays show the upper and lower back teeth and are used to detect cavities and gum disease.
  • Periapical X-rays: These X-rays show the entire tooth, from the crown to the root, and are used to detect abscesses, impacted teeth, and other dental problems.
  • Panoramic X-rays: These X-rays show a wide view of the entire mouth, including the teeth, jaws, and sinuses, and are used to detect tumors, cysts, and other abnormalities.


During the X-ray procedure, you’ll be asked to wear a lead apron to protect your body from unnecessary exposure to radiation. Your dentist or dental hygienist will place a small, flat sensor or film inside your mouth and ask you to bite down gently. The X-ray machine will then be positioned next to your face, and the image will be captured. The process may be repeated several times to get a complete view of your mouth.


Dental X-rays are generally safe and don’t cause any discomfort. However, to ensure your safety, your dentist will take precautions to minimize your exposure to radiation. They may use a lead apron to cover your body and a thyroid collar to protect your thyroid gland from radiation. They may also use digital X-rays, which emit less radiation than traditional film X-rays.


After the X-ray procedure, your dentist will review the images to check for any dental problems. They may also use the X-ray results to create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. If they find any issues, they will discuss the findings with you and recommend the appropriate treatment options.


Getting X-rays from a general dentist is a simple and painless procedure that can help detect dental problems early. By following the preparation and safety guidelines, you can ensure that the X-ray procedure is both safe and effective.

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