Bitewing X-Ray: What is It?

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The most common type of dental x-ray taken during a routine dental checkup is called a “bitewing x-ray.” This type of X-ray shows the upper and lower back teeth in a single view and is taken to see how the upper and lower teeth line up, to check for decay, and discover bone loss due to infection and serious gum disease.

The name is descriptive of the unique plastic (or sometimes cardboard) tab that you bite down upon as the camera, pressed against your cheek, takes the picture. This tab contains x-ray film in the center which allows for a clear internal examination of the teeth without the gums and jawbone obscuring the image.

Not only does a bitewing x-ray give clear pictures inside the top and bottom crown portions of the teeth, but it shows the root depth and allows the dentist to measure the height of the bone between your teeth inside the gums and jaw. Dentists use this to aid in diagnosing periodontal disease and to root out cavities. Generally, your dentist will require that you have new bitewing x-rays taken every year because they provide so much needed information about your oral health and the progression of dental decay.

Bitewing x-rays top the list of necessary tools your dentist will use in order to assess the condition of your teeth because these x-rays shine a light on the areas that are more difficult to otherwise see. Detecting cavities and decay inside and in between teeth would be much harder if not impossible without this modern miracle.

If you’re past due for a dental x-ray, call Drs. Robin and Kyle Sheets and our team at Sheets Family Dentistry. You can make an appointment at: 765-884-0018, or come by our office in Fowler, Indiana.