As a dental hygienist, one of the most important tools we have in ensuring quality restorative dentistry is taking post-operative dental radiographs. These radiographs allow us to see the underlying structures of the teeth and ensure that the restoration has been placed correctly and is functioning as it should. In this blog post, we will discuss why post-operative dental radiographs are so important and what patients should look for when reviewing them.
Why Are Post-Operative Dental Radiographs Important?
Post-operative dental radiographs are important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they allow us to see the underlying structures of the teeth that cannot be seen with the naked eye. This includes the roots of the teeth, the bone surrounding the teeth, and the tissues that support the teeth.
By taking post-operative dental radiographs, we can ensure that the restoration has been placed correctly and is functioning properly. We can also identify any potential issues that may arise in the future, such as decay or infection, and address them before they become more serious.
What Patients Should Look For When Reviewing Post-Operative Dental Radiographs
When reviewing post-operative dental radiographs, there are a few things that patients should look for. First, they should ensure that the restoration is properly placed and looks natural. The restoration should blend in seamlessly with the surrounding teeth and not look out of place. Overhangs or excess material on either side of the tooth can lead to recurrent decay due to food catching in those areas and often becomes a place that is extremely hard to keep clean.
When having a crown placed, you want to make sure the margin of the crown where it attaches to the tooth is well sealed. If you can see a gap between where the tooth is and the crown is this area this area can be a gateway for bacteria to tunnel under the existing crown. The down side to this besides having a cavity under your brand new crown, is that decay cannot be seen in routine dental X-rays due to the crown distorting the area underneath. Often times the decay must be large enough that you are able to see it when it has gone outside the crowns parameters and possibly into the root. By then the decay is so deep that either a root canal is needed or the tooth can even be non restorable.
Patients should also look for any signs of decay or infection around the restoration. This can appear as dark spots or areas of discoloration around the tooth. If any issues are identified, patients should contact their dentist immediately to schedule an appointment to address the problem.
In addition to these things, patients should also ensure that the radiographs are of high quality and have been taken using the latest technology. This will ensure that any potential issues can be identified and addressed as early as possible, leading to better outcomes and a healthier smile.
Post-operative dental radiographs are an essential tool in ensuring quality restorative dentistry. By taking these radiographs and reviewing them carefully, patients can ensure that their restorations are properly placed and functioning as they should. If you have any questions about post-operative dental radiographs or restorative dentistry in general, please don't hesitate to contact your dental office. They are always there to help!