Dental x-rays, the who, the what, and the why?

dental x-ray at Jannali Dental Care

A dental x-ray is one of the most important diagnostic tools in a dentist’s arsenal. And they are safer and simpler than ever before –  quick, painless, and modern x-rays emit very low-radiation. 

And, most importantly, an x-ray allow us to assess a number of dental conditions.  Even though we may have a keen eye and loads of experience, there are still some things that even the very best dentist cannot see with just the naked eye.

What are dental x-rays?

Have you noticed how quickly an x-ray appears on the dentist’s screen?  Modern x-rays are digital and INSTANT.  Pretty amazing technology.

Not only do they allow for immediate viewing and diagnosis, they emit around 30% to 40% less radiation than traditional dental x-rays.

Dental x-rays are used for check-ups (usually every two years) and for diagnostic purposes.  We don’t need to take x-rays at every appointment.

Specialist x-rays like OPG and CBCT (described below), are used when more detailed or specialised imagery is needed.

CBCT

A Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) or Cone Beam Scan, is a precise method of x-ray used to create a 3D image of a patient’s mouth, teeth and jaw. This type of x-ray can be used for root canal, dental implants and gum disease assessment.

OPG

An orthopantomogram (try pronouncing that one!), or OPG, is a specialist x-ray which provides a 360-degree view of the teeth, jawbones, joints and sinuses. This type of x-ray may be required for braces preparation, dental implants, investigating gum disease, wisdom tooth removal or gaining a detailed picture of how a patient’s teeth fit into their jaw.

What are dental x-rays useful for?

Even the most experienced and eagle-eyed dentist can’t spot everything with the naked eye. An x-ray can help detect dental problems which are hidden beneath the surface or establish the extent of an infection.

Decay

If tooth decay is suspected by your dentist an x-ray can confirm its presence and the extent of the decay.

Infections and Abscesses

Abscesses and infections can be detected using dental x-rays. While your dentist may be able to establish that you have an infection during a regular check-up, a dental x-ray will establish the extent of the infection or abscess.

It gives us a much better idea of what is going on in your mouth.

Preparation and progress

Dental x-rays can be used to help prepare and assess the progress of patients for things such as braces, wisdom teeth extraction, dental implants and other cosmetic procedures which require a clear and detailed picture.

Are dental x-rays safe?

A dental x-ray every two years, or even more frequently, poses no health risk and the benefits to your dental health far outweigh any risk from exposure to the radiation emitted by the x-ray.

Modern digital x-rays, as opposed to traditional radiographic x-rays, emit a much lower level of radiation. At Jannali Dental Care, we only use digital x-rays – but if in doubt, always check with your dentist.

When are children able to have dental x-rays?

There is no general rule about when children can start to have x-rays.

A dentist will typically administer an x-ray on a child if they suspect particular dental health issues, or if that child is at high-risk of developing a dental issue.

Radiation levels can be lowered for child x-rays, but they are not given as a routine necessity as is the case in an adult check-up, usually only when they are needed as a diagnostic tool.

Are dental x-rays dangerous for pregnant women?

The Australian Dental Association says that x-rays are safe during all stages of pregnancy.

However, extra precautions are recommended during the first three terms of pregnancy and generally at Jannali Dental Care, our dentists will avoid routine preventative x-rays during pregnancy and only use them if required for more urgent diagnostic purposes.

The patient does of course have the right to refuse an x-ray if she feels it is not in her best interest.

How often should I get a dental x-ray?

Dental x-rays are recommended every two years as part of your check-up. Prevention is always better than cure and dental x-rays can pick up issues which can be missed by the eyes of even the most experienced dentist.

Some patients may require x-rays more frequently if they have a history of tooth decay or are at a high risk of dental problems.

X-rays are also administered if a patient presents with pain or other symptoms of infection or decay.

An xray can be just the thing that identifies and allows us to fix the problem that may be well-hidden to the naked eye.

If you have any concerns about dental xrays or any oral health issue, and its potential impact on their teeth, please give us a call on 9528 9204 or drop us an email info@jannalidentalcare.com.au

Talking to us is always the best option.

What can I do about my stained teeth?

We all want to feel confident showing off a bright white smile in photos and when we chat with others.

Over time our teeth can darken and yellow due to our age, as well as our eating and smoking habits.  Time for some teeth whitening!

When we want to achieve a whiter smile we can be quick to grab the first tooth whitening product we see on the supermarket shelf.

But bear in mind that a stock standard tooth whitening product can actually cause discomfort if there is a more serious dental problem underlying.  So it is quite important to know what has caused the tooth stain in the first place.

If you want to whiten your teeth, the best place to start is with a healthy mouth. So before you jump in and buy a whitener off-the-shelf or online, come and see us first for a check-up.

We can help work out the cause of the stain, treat any existing dental problems and advise you on different teeth whitening options.

Teeth whitening technology has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. And remember that a teeth whitening consultation is FREE with us anytime –  check out our teeth whitening package HERE.

✔️ Common causes of tooth stain

Sadly, it’s things we tend to enjoy daily that are the main culprits – coffee, tea, red wine, some berries, tomato sauce, spices like turmeric or curry paste, brightly coloured lollies, and of course, smoking.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to say goodbye to these foods and beverages forever…… but there are a few things you can do to help minimise the impact.

✔️Tips to help reduce tooth stain

One suggestion is to use a straw because it reduces exposure to our teeth. However that may not always be practical, especially when it comes to coffee or red wine!  So the next best thing is to rinse your mouth with water and/or mouthwash after you’ve consumed your cappuccino or shiraz .

A simple ‘at home’ tip is to brush your teeth with baking powder. It does an excellent job at removing surface stains, but you should proceed with caution to prevent damage to your enamel. Baking powder is definitely NOT advised for everyday use, as it can be pretty abrasive.

The other simple tip is to stay on top of your general dental hygiene. Regular brushing, flossing and mouth wash.  Getting a check-up and teeth clean every 6 months is also a good habit to form.  And if you are a heavy coffee drinker or a smoker, consider cutting back, or quitting all together.

✔️Other causes of tooth stain

Some stains actually come from within the tooth – called intrinsic stains, and these are notoriously harder to remove.  There are a number of causes, such as:

  •      Small cracks in tooth enamel;
  •       Excessive teeth grinding;
  •       Some antibiotics and medications, such as doxycycline and tetracycline;
  •       Trauma or an accident;
  •       Excess fluoride intake either during pregnancy or by the child while his/her  permanent teeth are still developing.

To prevent intrinsic stains in children, avoid too much early exposure to fluorides. You can do this by purchasing age-appropriate toothpaste for your children.

If you see any change in your child’s normal tooth colour, it should definitely be checked out – so if your child has white spots on his/her teeth, or any other unusual stain, make an appointment and let our team at Jannali Dental Care take a close look.

As we get older, so do our teeth. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which then allows the inner structure of the tooth to show through, so our teeth naturally yellow with time.

Genetics also plays a lead role in oral health and some people are lucky to have thicker enamel then others, which means their teeth are less likely to show stain.

If you have deeply embedded stains in the structure of the tooth come and see us as at the clinic as the stains will probably need to be removed through a professional  teeth-whitening treatment like Zoom (which only takes about an hour in the chair).

✔️ How can we help?

Firstly, we will make sure your teeth and gums are healthy  before going ahead with any whitening treatments. A healthy mouth is the best place to start.

We offer a Teeth Whitening Package – witness your teeth whiten up to eight shades in about an hour.  You will see significant changes in just one treatment – and we can also provide you with a take-home kit to continue the whitening process in the comfort of your own home.

A teeth-whitening package also makes a great birthday gift or a treat for a bride-to-be (or the groom) !

Call us today  on (02) 9528 9204 to book a FREE whitening consultation for you or a friend. 

And of course, if you’re unhappy with the appearance of your teeth for ANY reason, please come and see our Sutherland Shire dentists at Jannali Dental Care.

Dental Health Insurance. Use it. Don’t lose it.

Jannali dental insurance

46% of Australians have private health cover. If you are one of that 46% – are you making the most of your health insurance?

Many people who have private health insurance and extras don’t take full advantage of their cover, and that seems like a real waste.  It’s a bit like having an expensive gym membership you  never use……

In most cases, unused health fund benefits don’t roll over to the following year, so if you don’t use them, they are gone forever.

Check with your health fund to see what dental benefits you have and if they expire on a calendar year basis.  And understand what you are entitled to.

Typically, dental coverage in Australia is split across three areas:

  • Preventative (Checkups, X-Rays, Scale & Cleans)
  • General (Simple Fillings and Basic Extractions)
  • Major (Crowns, Root Canals and Complex fillings)

Exactly what is classified as preventative, general or major varies from one health insurance provider to the next.  So please check your own private health insurance to see what you are covered for.

If you’ve already paid for these benefits; make sure you use them! Here are four important reminders:

✔️Don’t procrastinate!

Delaying simple treatments when first detected could potentially be more expensive later. Prevent costly and serious treatments by making use of your dental insurance when the problem first pops up.

✔️Prevent, Prevent, Prevent

Prevention is the key. Keep your oral health on track. Preventative appointments, including 6-monthly check-ups and cleans, are typically covered by your insurance.

✔️Understand the Gap

The gap is the difference between the price of a dental treatment and what your insurer will pay. You pay the gap ‘out-of-pocket’.

Every insurance policy is different so have a good read of your policy.

✔️Understand what you are entitled to

Do  some research when looking for the best Private Health plan to suit you and your family. Ask about your annual limits for extras. And think about whether you are paying for extras you will just never use.

Ring your fund. Shop around. Maximise your policy.

At Jannali Dental Care, we are passionate about providing quality dental care that is as affordable and accessible as possible for singles, couples, and families.

Take an hour out of your busy schedule before the end of the year to use the benefits you are entitled to. Don’t let the rest of the year slip by without seeing us!

Remember: You’ve PAID for these benefits. Use them, don’t lose them!

Give us a call on  (02) 9528 9204 to make an appointment. We promise to look after you.