Why do you need an extra-oral dental x-ray?

The extra-oral dental x-ray provides images of the dental formula from the outside of the mouth. It gives a wider view and provides pictures of some parts of the skull. They come in handy when evaluating damage to the jaw or part of the skull. In as much as they are not detailed as the intraoral X-ray, they are advantageous because they can also be used for a skull X-ray.

Outside view X-rays can be taken from different perspectives to show different parts of the head as required by the doctor. The most common view is the Panoramic view that gives a view of the whole mouth from the front. A side view of the mouth that shows the relationship of the teeth to the jaws is called the Cephalometric Projection. This view used in the diagnosis of bone-related complications. The Cone Beam and Standard Computer Tomography are also considered to be part of extraoral dental X-ray.

With technology improving, there are digital radiography tools that can be used to take X-ray images with ease and produce much better images. Digital images are relayed from sensors to monitors where they can be evaluated and help in the diagnosis process.

Can be used in the evaluation of;

When permanent teeth start to appear, there might be a need for examination to detect deformation or cavity in your child’s teeth. Yes, your child might need to have that X-ray because it helps in the observation of tooth development. An external view X-ray will provide a full view compared to an internal view X-ray. This helps in the reduction or mitigation of complication later in life.

Trauma – patients with trauma need to have an extraoral X-ray because it can be done to show the skull and thus help in monitoring or detecting tumors in the brain. Recently developed equipment provide detailed 3D images of the brain allowing for better evaluation.

Detection of deformed of dental bones – the view given by the external X-ray shows the dental bone structure thus proving helpful in the detection of deformation or broken bones. Skull view X-rays show all the bones of the face, its soft tissues, and the entire skull.

Because of the wide images produced by the outside imaging of the skull, these X-ray help in the detection of all dental anomalies with ease. Mostly, issues are related to orthopedics. If you have that aching tooth that broke off and was retained in the roots, extraoral procedures will help pinpoint the culprit. The ability to detect soft tissues provide an added advantage in the detection of lesions within the mouth.


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