Who thought dental Xrays could be so cool?

For the record, I hated dental visits as a kids, though I was extremely fortunate to never need braces and I only had 3 cavities in all my years until this year. I never liked them much as an adult either. My husband on the other hand has had years of dental work and braces and boy that was fun for him (not).

When it comes time to my kids teeth, I frequently worry excessively about them, and mostly just before I go to sleep. Mostly because I have three girls with nightly bruxism – tooth grinding and I have a small house and I HEAR them nightly. My oldest has done it so much her cuspids (canine) teeth have been ground down so they no longer have points, but instead are flat.

In October, I took my 7 year old daughter in for a consultation with the dentist because she lost one of her lateral incisors but there was no tooth coming through like her other teeth had. After about 3 weeks and still no tooth, I got worried that she had no permanent tooth there. I knew this was a definite possibility because I still have a baby tooth, with no adult tooth underneath (and I’m 39 years old).

Here’s a picture of what her teeth look like now with the space for her missing tooth on the left. On a positive note, her previously coming in very crooked central incisors are now straightened out beautifully (but with a gap due to missing lateral incisor on the left). And yes, her teeth are slightly yellowed, unfortunately because they were squished when they came in and it was VERY hard to get in there, even when mom and dad helped. 😦

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So, to resolve my paranoia that she had no tooth and so I could sleep at night, I asked the doctor to take an Xray of her teeth to see if there’s anything below the gumline we couldn’t see.

What I didn’t realize is that he had the capability of taking Xrays of all the teeth at once without those incredibly frustrating traditional tiny little Xrays. Instead of those, “open up and bite down on this” bad tasting, plasticy thing and having to do them many times in order to take the whole mouth.

The dentist took a panoramic view of her entire jaw with the Kodak 8000 Dental Digital Imaging System. It was non-invasive and quick and showed an really neat view of what was going on in her mouth. When the dentist showed me her Xray image, and I asked if I could borrow it to show it to my girls and learn from it, he told me I could keep it because it’s stored digitally in his computer system.

So of course, I had to upload them and show them off.

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You can even see her earring studs on the above shot.

And here’s a closeup of her teeth –

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If you look carefully, you can see the gap in the upper jaw where the tooth is missing and see that there is a tooth above it, trying mightily to come through but it’s very snug there. There’s also two squished molars to the left of it. The doctor projects that if she has a growth spurt within the next six months her jaw ought to grow and make room for those teeth to erupt. If not, THEN we have to go for an orthodontic consultation.

What I also thought was cool is now we can see on the jaw below, the other teeth waiting to erupt, nice and clear and in little “pockets”.

Fascinating stuff.

I found an interesting little interactive tooth game for kids at

MouthPower Online sponsored by the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore Maryland.

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This entry was posted in Anatomy, Interactive Science Links, Xrays. Bookmark the permalink.

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