All posts in Boise Dental x-rays

Dental X-Rays Vs. Impressions – What’s the Difference?

Image via Flickr by Sharon Drummond

Have you ever been confused about the difference between Boise dental x-rays and impressions? Both take a panoramic view of your teeth, but they have incredibly different purposes. Here’s what makes each process unique:

Boise Dental X-Rays for Finding Cavities and Hidden Teeth

If you are getting a cavity filled, in need of a dental implant, or any other number of dental procedures, you’ll need a dental x ray. Here are a few things a dental x ray can show our Boise dentists:

  • A tooth’s root. This is especially important to see if the teeth are straight and healthy, or if there is room for a dental implant.
  • Cavities. While our Boise dentists can see a cavity when inspecting a patient’s teeth, a dental x ray can be helpful in discovering just how big the cavity is.
  • Impacted teeth. Boise dental x-rays will show a child’s adult teeth under their baby teeth in addition to showing the position of wisdom teeth in adults.
  • Bone and gum loss or abnormalities. If you have suffered bone or gum loss from a disease, Boise dental x-rays can show our Boise dentists the extent of the damage.

Dental Impressions for Getting a Crown

Instead of looking for cavities, abnormalities, or teeth that have not yet surfaced, dental impressions are used to give our Boise dentists and 3-D mold of your teeth. This shows us:

  • The patient’s bite. With a dental impression, our Boise dentists can see exactly how your teeth and jaws fit together. This is useful for seeing how to make a dental crown, but it can also be helpful in seeing how your jaws align.
  • The shape and size of a tooth. When you need a dental crown or implant, our Boise dentists can get the exact shape and size of your teeth thanks to a dental impression.
  • The shape and size of all your teeth. If our dentists need to give you a partial, a mouth guard, or customized teeth whitening trays, we want the exact 3-D design of all of your teeth. A dental impression gives it to us so that whatever we make will be the perfect fit.

New CEREC Restorations Digital Impressions

While you sometimes need both Boise dental x-rays and dental impressions, our Boise dentists have found an easier way to get your dental impressions. Instead of using a putty-like substance with large and uncomfortable trays (as dentists have used for decades), Summit dental has recently purchased CEREC digital impressions technology.

Here’s how the new CEREC digital impressions works: Our dentists will run a wand-like camera over your teeth, which sends the CEREC digital impressions onto a computer. The program immediately constructs a 3-D digital likeness of your teeth on screen. These digital impressions are then used just the same as the physical impressions.

Want to learn more about the difference between dental x-rays and physical or digital impressions? Ask one of our amazing Boise dentists or staff the next time you are in the office!



Advice from Boise Dentists: How Often Should Dental X-Rays be Taken?

Image via Flickr by Ano Labb

Wondering how often you should get dental x-rays or how safe dental x-rays are? Our numbers and recommendations vary with every patient, but below are some examples of how we might modify our x-ray dental schedule to fit you:

Dental X-Rays During Annual or Semi-Annual Cleanings:

Some dentists will take a dental x ray from their patients every six months simply because their insurance will pay for it. Others rely on a visual exam and only use dental x-rays if we see a problem. Our Boise dentists tend to side with the latter group.

X-Ray Dental Schedule for Children:

Our Boise dentists prefer to rely on a visual inspection of a child’s teeth instead of taking a dental x ray. The reason? Children may be more vulnerable to radiation than adults. And a visual inspection is a good way to see if there is any need to get a dental x ray. As children get older, we might recommend getting x-rays every one or two years.

X-Ray Dental Recommendations during Pregnancy:

If possible, we (and the American Pregnancy Association) recommend waiting on non-emergency dental x-rays until after the pregnancy. While radiation levels are very low as explained below, we just don’t see the need to take any chances, especially during the first trimester. Don’t take this as a ticket out of making an appointment with our Boise dentists during pregnancy, however! Treating cavities and other dental problems is extremely important during pregnancy due to the stress these issues can bring on the body.

X-Ray Dental Schedule for Those with Dental Disease:

People who we know have recurrent issues with their teeth should definitely get a dental x ray more often. This will clearly depend on the patient and their history, however, but a common number would be six months.

How Much Radiation in a Dental X Ray?

There have been a lot of conversations lately about the radiation in dental x-rays. Several sources have said that the radiation in dental x-rays is equal to the amount of radiation you get in a day from the sun and other sources. So the levels are generally pretty low. However, radiation exposure cumulates over a lifetime, so there is good reason to not be too hasty to get dental x-rays done.

Hopefully this will give an insight into how our office works with dental x-rays. Got more questions? Feel free to talk to us or send us a note, and we might write about it here!



Our Boise Dentists Will Suggest Boise Dental X-rays When….

It can be hard to know when you’ll need dental X-rays. Below, we talk about several reasons why our Boise dentists and staff may recommend them:

You are a new dental patient. If we are just getting to know you, we will usually start with a comprehensive new patient exam. That includes a thorough examination of the teeth and mouth, a cancer and periodontal screening, and dental X-rays. This way, we can get to understand as much as possible about your oral health right away.

It’s your annual exam. We generally recommend that our dental patients get Boise dental X-rays every two years at their annual appointment. Of course, this will depend on your oral health, medical history, and your risk for dental disease. By getting dental X-rays every two years, we can stay one step ahead of any bone loss or disease.

You are growing up. Kids generally need more X-rays than adults because their teeth are still growing and developing, and they are more vulnerable to tooth decay. Our Boise Dentists may need to take an X-ray to see how teeth are growing or whether there are any other problems.

You need implants or a crown. Dental X-rays give our Boise Dentists the proper map to put in an implant or add a crown. It can tell them if you have enough bone mass for an implant or if there are any problems that could interfere with a procedure.

Dental X-rays allow our Boise Dentists to see bone loss, tooth decay, the effect of trauma, and even cancer. While you usually only get dental X-rays every few years, things like cavities or a dental procedure may make dental X-rays the best choice. Have more questions about dental X-rays? Stop by our Boise office and ask us!