Dental X-Rays In Singapore: Early Detection Could Save You!

Grappling with a toothache? A toothache could be a symptom of an underlying issue such as tooth decay, an impacted wisdom tooth or even a tooth fracture. To determine the root cause of a toothache, dental X-rays can prove beneficial in detecting the presence of tooth decay and identifying possible dental abnormalities. In turn, this allows early intervention to take place to prevent these issues from worsening over time. Here, we will be taking a closer look at dental X-rays and answering some of your most frequently asked questions.

What are dental X-rays?

Also known as radiographs, dental X-rays are images of your teeth that help dentists evaluate the condition of your teeth, gums and jaw bone. Using low levels of radiation, dental X-rays capture interior images of your teeth and gums. This helps dentists determine if there are underlying issues such as tooth decay, fractures and even impacted teeth.

Why do we need dental X-rays?

Dental X-rays help give dentists a clearer image of your oral health to treat and prevent potential dental abnormalities. In addition to routine checkups, they help to detect issues that may be present under the surface of your teeth and gums. If left unchecked, gum disease and impacted wisdom teeth can lead to toothaches and painful infections. Hence, it is important to address such issues early on to prevent complications from arising over time.

The types of dental X-rays in Singapore

Dental X-rays consist of two key categories. On one hand, we have an intraoral X-ray which takes place inside the mouth. On the other, we have an extraoral X-ray which takes place outside of the mouth. Because these X-rays only use low level radiation, they are considered safe to use. In fact, this level of radiation is only equivalent to several hours of exposure to the natural radiation in our environment. We also help to further limit our patients’ exposure to such radiation by having them wear a lead apron or a thyroid shield when having their dental X-rays taken. Overall, there are several types of radiographs available in Singapore that serve different functions.   

Orthopantomogram (OPG)

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The name orthopantomogram is quite a mouthful, so we tend to use the abbreviation OPG when referring to this 2D radiograph. Also known as a panoramic radiograph, OPG allows dentists to view the patient’s entire mouth in one single image. This includes their teeth, gums and jawbone. Think of it as getting a bird’s eye view of your entire dental structure! The OPG is particularly useful for evaluating the growth and positioning of a patient’s wisdom teeth. Moreover, it only takes less than 60 seconds for the OPG machine to encircle you and have your X-ray taken.

Periapical

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Next, we have the periapical radiograph which is a smaller type of X-ray that captures the precise image of a specific section of teeth from the roots to the crown. It is also able to capture an image of the bony mass surrounding the roots of a tooth. Normally, the periapical radiograph is used to assess the ligaments around the roots of a tooth to detect a possible infection in the bone surrounding the tooth.

Bitewing

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Similar to the periapical radiograph, a bitewing X-ray is able to show a detailed image of a specific section of teeth. However, the bitewing is more suitable for evaluating the crowns of the top and bottom back teeth on each side of the mouth in a single image. This allows dentists to check for tooth decay that may be present in between the back molars that can be difficult to see at a superficial level. Since both the periapical and bitewing are intraoral X-rays, they can be done conveniently in the comfort of a dental chair.

Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)

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When a regular 2D X-ray is not sufficient, a dentist will incorporate a CBCT instead. Unlike the OPG, the CBCT produces 3D images of a patient’s teeth, jaw bone, gum tissues as well as nerve pathways in a single scan. Hence, this form of 3D imaging is particularly beneficial for charting out dental implants. It can also help dentists to plan and execute the safe and effective removal of impacted wisdom teeth.

Lateral Cephalogram

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Finally, we have the lateral cephalogram which takes a profile X-ray of a patient’s entire head and skull. This type of X-ray is suitable for planning out orthodontic treatments and diagnosing sleep apnea and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD).

Frequently asked questions

Are dental X-rays safe?

Yes, dental X-rays are safe because they only use a low level of radiation. Also, wearing a lead apron or a thyroid shield can further help to minimize a patient’s exposure to this radiation.

Is it safe for a pregnant woman to get a dental X-ray?

Although it is advisable for pregnant women to avoid dental X-rays, dental emergencies may necessitate the need for a radiograph. To limit their exposure to any radiation, we will provide them with a lead apron or a thyroid shield during the scan. Aside from that, it is generally safe for women who are breastfeeding (or who are trying to get pregnant) to get a dental X-ray.

Can I request for a copy of my dental X-ray?

Yes you most certainly can! You can either request for a copy to be sent to you via email, in a CD or you can even take a picture of the X-ray using your phone’s camera.

How much does a dental X-ray cost?

The cost of your dental X-ray can vary depending on the type of radiograph you are getting as well as the location of your dental clinic. Here is a summary of the average costs according to the different types of dental X-rays available in Singapore:

Type of Dental X-RayPrice Range
Orthopantomogram (OPG)$70 – $150
Periapical / Bitewing (Intraoral)$25 – $50
Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)$150 – $300
Lateral Cephalogram$150 – $300

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