Month: June 2014

Getting the Facts about Dental X-Rays

What are Dental X-Rays?

Dental X-Rays are X-Rays used by dentists to examine your mouth and teeth.  These X-Rays can be used to check for cavities, bone loss, and tissue masses, cysts, or tumors, as well as to examine the jaw and jaw joints.   X-Rays can also be used to examine new teeth (in children, or wisdom teeth) and tooth damage that cannot be seen just by looking in the mouth.  Dental X-Rays are generally useful for monitoring the state of your oral health, and are good at detecting oral health issues early before they become major problems.

What are the different types of Dental X-Rays?

There are several different types of Dental X-Rays, each of which focus on different parts of the mouth.

Periapical X-Rays focus on showing an entire tooth, including the tip of the root and the surrounding bone structure.

Panoramic X-Rays give a quick overview of the whole mouth, including the jaw and nasal area, but are not as detailed as other types.

Occlusal X-Rays are used to view either the floor or roof of the mouth.

Bitewings are a type of X-Ray that show the tops of the upper and lower back teeth and how they fit together.  They reveal cavities between the teeth and bone level around the back teeth.

How often should I have Dental X-Rays?

On average, an adult patient should receive bitewing X-Rays every 1 to 3 years.  However, this frequency is based on a variety of factors.  Younger children and teens need bitewings more frequently; children should receive bitewings every 1 to 2 years, and teens every 1 to 3 years.  Adults with a history of tooth decay are at higher risk of continued tooth decay, and so should also receive bitewings more frequently, with the exact frequency to be determined by your dentist.  For more information, visit our website at

What is TMJ disorder and TMD? | Weston Dental Blog

What is TMJ disorder and TMD?

The Temporomandibular Joints (TMJs) are the joints in your jaw. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD, also frequently called TMJ disorder) refers to a number of possible problems that can arise within the TMJ or surrounding area. Low level TMDs may affect a large percentage of the population – up to 50% in one study. In some cases, TMDs can become severe, leading to chronic pain and limiting the movement of the joint. According to a recent survey, up to 9 million Americans suffer chronic pain from TMJ disorders.

What are symptoms of TMDs (TMJ disorders)?

Since TMDs are a family of problems, there are a large variety of symptoms. Common symptoms include clicking or popping noises coming from the jaw joints, pain in the jaw or nearby regions (face or neck), difficulty opening the mouth fully, a sticking or locking sensation in the jaw, or a feeling of discomfort when biting or pressing teeth together. Some forms of TMD can also cause headaches or earaches.

What are causes of TMDs (TMJ disorders)?

TMDs are generally caused by damage or misalignment of the joints and muscles in the jaw area. Accidents and sports injuries are one way this can happen. TMDs can also develop gradually, such as by grinding or clenching the teeth chronically, arthritis, or a misaligned jaw which receives stress when chewing. Diseases or substances (such as nicotine) that effect muscles can also cause TMDs to develop.

How are TMDs (TMJ disorders) diagnosed and treated?

If we suspect TMD in one of our Weston area dental patients, we will first look at X-rays of the jaw, and examine the patient’s bite action and jaw muscles. Further tests may then be needed to narrow down the severity and exact type of TMD. There are a variety of treatments for TMDs; one common treatment is to ‘rest’ the jaw by minimizing chewing and jaw motion, often involving a soft or liquid diet. Another option is to add a piece of plastic known as a bite splint to the teeth, which adjusts the way teeth fit together in order to minimize stress on the TMJ. Treatment is generally effective – the vast majority of cases treated by licensed dentists result in reduced or eliminated symptoms.


If you feel that you may have a TMJ disorder based on the symptoms you are experienced, please contact our Weston area dental office to make an appointment for a TMJ disorder assessment.