Wisdom Teeth X-Rays: Why They’re So Important

June 15, 2022

If you’re concerned about your wisdom teeth, it’s important that your dentist refers you to have an x-ray before deciding on whether or not to have them removed or treated.

An x-ray of your wisdom teeth will allow you to see if the teeth are impacted, meaning that they haven’t broken through the gums and so can’t be seen in a regular smile portrait or during routine dental visits. This could lead to serious oral health problems if left untreated, so it’s important to take action as soon as possible.

About 1/3 of adults have impacted wisdom teeth while wisdom teeth seem like just another part of your anatomy, they're actually crucial for the future of your oral health. That said, impacted wisdom teeth can cause a lot of pain in people who have them—but they usually don’t need to be removed.

Instead, impacted wisdom teeth can often be left alone for years until there is some kind of problem that necessitates extraction. If you haven’t gotten your wisdom teeth x-rayed in a while, it may be worth looking into how to get an impacted wisdom teeth x-ray or 3D CBCT scan. An x-ray will reveal if you have impacted wisdom teeth or if other complications exist.

Impacted teeth can cause pain, infection, crowding

Your mouth has 32 teeth (not counting wisdom teeth). Some people get a wisdom tooth, while others have two, three, four or none at all. Although rare, a person sometimes obtains more than four wisdom teeth.

This means that if your wisdom teeth grow in crooked or at an angle, then they might not be able to make room for themselves in your mouth, which is why impacted wisdom teeth can cause discomfort and require removal.

The longer they stay impacted, then, the more likely it is that they'll start causing problems—and these problems are usually worse than whatever discomfort you'd experience if you went ahead and got them removed sooner rather than later. 

Impacted wisdom teeth x rays can help ensure that doctors determine whether or not your wisdom teeth need to come out—and provide a clearer picture of how impacted (or not) your molars actually are.

Why CBCT Cone Beam 3D Xrays are Necessary for Implants and Removal of Wisdom Teeth

To properly remove impacted wisdom teeth, it is necessary to have a cone beam 3D x-ray done because the dentist needs to be able to see the entirety of the nerves and arteries in the jaw in order to ensure they're not harmed during surgery.

Additionally, this helps avoid cutting the incision in the wrong spot (the cheek side vs the tongue side of the jaw).

The frequency of impacted third molars has been relatively high. Wisdom teeth become impacted due to the slow development of jaw bones, crowded spaces for teeth to erupt, and abnormal development patterns.

Teeth crowding necessitates expansion to create space for proper chewing, speaking, and breathing.

How to talk to your dentist about an impacted wisdom teeth 3D x-ray referral

If you go to your dentist for an impacted wisdom teeth, be sure to ask him or her about referring you for a 3D x-ray before recommending potential treatment options. 

You can also explain your concern by saying something like, I don’t want to take any chances with addressing my oral health because I am concerned it could affect my overall health if left untreated.

What to expect during and after your wisdom tooth x-ray appointment

During a CBCT scan, which stands for cone beam computed tomography, two images are taken: one of your face and one of your jaw area. Because they're 3D images rather than 2D ones, they allow dentists to see things in much greater detail than with traditional x-rays.

 It shouldn't take long for your wisdom teeth x ray appointment; once it's done, your doctor will know exactly what kind of care needs to follow.

Resources From Our Blog

Free Medical Radiology Reports for New Referring Orthodontists: Unlock the Benefits of CBCT Imaging
Celebrating Patient Safety Awareness Week 2024
Advanced Imaging: 3D Dental X-rays vs 2D Dental X-rays
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