X-rays are an integral part of medical as well as dental health management. They play an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. There is lot of concern among the general population regarding the harmful effects of x-rays; but they are safe if standard guidelines and safety measures are followed.
Dentists with the help of x-rays can observe and detect signs of disease which are normally not visible by the routine examination. The x-rays or radiographs help the dentists in making accurate assessment of the disease process, and the condition of the underlying structures and bones can also be noted. There are many uses of x-rays; they help in diagnosing abscesses, cysts, and tumors. Impacted, unerupted, missing, or extra teeth can be visualized. In periodontal disease, the location, severity, and the depth of the cavities can be accurately noted. By using x-rays, the condition of teeth, soft tissue, surrounding bones, etc. can also be seen. Without x-rays, the correct diagnosis can be missed very easily.
A full series of x-rays is taken of all adult new patients and kept as record for future reference. The number of x-rays, interval between them and follow-up directions are determined by the dentist according to the type and severity of the disease. Multiple x-rays are needed in some conditions like root-canal treatment, periodontal disease, etc.
The use of radiographs in children is done taking into account their growth and development.