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X-rays, also known as radiographs, are an important part of dental care and treatment planning. They can help prevent potential oral care issues in a patient's mouth before they become major issues. X-rays allow the dentist to see inside a tooth and beneath the gums to asses the health of the bone and supporting tissue that hold teeth in place. They also help the dentist diagnose common problems such as, cavities, gum disease and some types of infection.

The most common types of X-rays performed in a dental surgery are, periapical, bite-wing and panoramic.

A periapical x-ray provides a view of the entire tooth, from the crown right down to the bone that supports the tooth.

A bite-wing shows both the lower and upper posterior teeth and helps determine if there is decay between the back teeth. This type of x-ray also shows the dentist how the teeth come together.

A panoramic x-ray shows the teeth, jaw, nasal area and sinuses, showing the dentist the whole mouth. If your wisdom teeth were impacted you would need this kind of x-ray to see them.

These x-rays are typically performed in a dental surgery. Firstly, you will be covered with a heavy apron to protect your body from radiation. Next, the dentist will insert the x-ray into your mouth and ask you to bite down on it - this holds the x-ray in place. The dentist will then proceed to take an x-ray picture of the targeted area. This is a pain free process and will be repeated until all teeth that are of concern have been x-rayed.

Ian, the Mosman dentist. Dentist Mosman.

Image: Pixabay

Everything you need to know about a Dry Socket

A dry socket is a painful condition that you may experience after having a tooth extracted. Normally when a tooth is extracted a blood clot forms over the area, the clot protects the nerves and bone in the empty tooth socket. The blood clot plays an important role in the healing process by protecting the empty socket. The condition called dry socket occurs if the blood clot fails to form over the tooth socket, or if the clot that does form either dissolves or is somehow dislodged, leaving the socket exposed to food, fluids and other debris. Because of the significant potential for contamination of the wound, a person with a dry socket has a substantial likelihood of developing an infection accompanied by severe pain that could last as long as five or six days.

Only a small percentage of patients develop a dry socket after having a tooth extracted. Although, some people are more likely than others to develop a dry socket after a tooth extraction. For example, people who smoke, have poor oral hygiene, use birth control pills, or have previously experienced dry socket following a tooth extraction.

After having a tooth extracted we would all expect to endure some discomfort or pain. However, if your pain is moderate at the beginning but after a few days becomes more serve instead of beginning to dissipate, you're probably experiencing dry socket symptoms. If you were to look where the tooth was extracted, you would probably see a dry-looking, empty socket instead of seeing a healthy-looking blood clot.

Other potential dry socket symptoms are swollen, enlarged lymph nodes in the jaw or neck. Enlarged lymph nodes are simply part of your body responding and attempting to fight off the infection caused by the dry socket.

Straight after your tooth is extracted, your dentist will probably suggest that you bite down firmly on a piece of gauze. Putting pressure on the gauze normally facilitates the formation of a blood clot over the empty tooth socket. Your dentist will then advise you to refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol, spitting and rinsing your mouth vigorously and also drinking through a straw as these can contribute to the risk of forming a dry socket. 

Ian, the Mosman dentist. Dentist Mosman.


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