Last week I made the trip to my Dentist for my bi-yearly checkup (no, the image above is not of my teeth). One of the very first things the dental assistant does is take x-rays of your chompers to see whats happening on the inside. The process involved placing a very heavy, lead filled apron over your chest to protect you from excess radiation during the x-ray. I then had whats called a "bite wing" placed in multiple places within my mouth as they snapped multiple pictures of my teeth. The "bite wing" created a backdrop for the images of the teeth so that the x-ray only took a picture of my teeth and not of any other bones within my cranium. The whole process took about 2 minutes.
Taking x-rays allows the Dentist to take a look at the health of your teeth in greater detail. The Dentist can see things like a wisdom tooth that is starting to develop under the gums, cavities that are hidden inside the tooth structure, and even tooth decay on the outer surface but is hard to see between the teeth. The below image shows what tooth decay looks like on x-ray film.
I'm happy to report that during my last routine checkup, I was cavity free! Although, they did suggest to floss more... but they tell that to everyone. I thinks that's their way of saying good bye!
On your next visit to the Dentist, ask if you can have a printout of your x-rays to show your merit badge counselor.