Despite the best intentions, life doesn’t always go according to plan. Unfortunately, accidents, mishaps and emergencies happen to everyone at some time or another – and sometimes they affect your teeth. If you’ve ever found yourself in a dental emergency, you know that, above all else, you want to get out of pain as quickly as possible! That’s why it can be frustrating to arrive at your appointment with an emergency dentist, only to be told that X-rays need to be done. However, there’s a good reason a dentist may need X-rays: They give them the crucial information they need to provide you with the best care. Keep reading to learn more about why X-rays may be needed in an emergency and what they can tell a dentist about your oral health.
Why Are X-Rays Necessary In an Emergency?
An emergency dentist needs X-rays because, matter how thoroughly they visually inspect your teeth, gum tissue, and other oral structures, they can’t see what’s happening inside or underneath those structures with their eyes alone.
Here are just a few emergency situations in which a dentist must have X-rays to make a diagnosis:
- Toothache or abscess – If you have a toothache, it may be due to an abscess or infection, which can only be seen on an X-ray as a dark area beneath the tip of the tooth’s root.
- Root fracture – If there’s been any kind of impact or trauma to the mouth or face, the roots of the teeth may be fractured. It’s important to catch this right away so that the right treatment can be recommended.
- Large cavities – An X-ray is necessary to assess the extent of the damage from a cavity and determine whether the tooth needs a filling, root canal and/or a dental crown.
- Cysts – You could develop sudden or severe emergency pain if you have a cyst, which can only be seen with a special X-ray that captures the entire oral cavity, including all the teeth, the upper and lower jaw and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Why Is the Right Diagnosis So Important?
Remember, you really benefit when your emergency dentist can use all the tools at their disposal to determine the extent of the situation and the best course of action. If they can’t diagnose the problem correctly because they don’t have all the information, you may not get the right treatment.
Also, some people are concerned about the safety of X-rays, so you’ll be glad to know that modern digital X-rays use an estimated 90% less radiation than traditional X-rays. In addition, X-rays are only done when truly necessary, so the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Rest assured that X-rays are done to make sure you get the most comprehensive emergency care possible. They’re an important step towards treating your emergency and getting you out of pain – which everyone can agree is a good thing!
About the Author
Dr. Bernard Florento is a general, cosmetic and restorative dentist who also provides outstanding emergency care. His ultimate goal is to make sure he doesn’t miss anything that would prevent him from providing the best emergency care possible and, when necessary, he uses X-rays to do that. If you have any additional questions about emergency dental care, he can be contacted via his website or at (623) 849-0477.