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Understanding Your Dental X-rays

When receiving results from your dental xrays, you may encounter words or phrases that are unfamiliar to you. Here are some of the most commonly used dental terms you may encounter.

“Radiolucent” is when an object appears dark on your dental xrays, such as the nerve of a tooth.

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“Radiopaque” refers to white or light objects, such as the enamel of a tooth. Both of these are normal occurrences and do not necessarily mean you have any issues such as a cavity. However, sometimes this light and dark contrast might alert your dental professional to a problem, such as extreme radiolucency caused by tooth decay. Radiolucency at the root of the tooth might also mean infection.

However, sometimes this contrast might result from totally normal parts of your teeth. Brightness at the top of the tooth might show up because of a crown that was previously installed. Root canals might also create radiopaque whiteness on your xrays and should not be cause for concern.

Results from dental x-rays may seem overwhelming at first, but a dental professional can help you make sense of this information and help you decide on next steps for treatment.

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