Don’t miss out on obtaining your dream job due to a lack of certification! Dental assistants often must have the proper credentials to take oral x-rays. X-rays are used by dental professionals to diagnose and ensure the oral health of their patients. As a result, dental assistants need to understand how to obtain an x-ray certification to qualify for positions and serve dental patients. X-rays must be done properly to ensure the comfort and health of the patients. To become certified, dental assistants must become educated on how to properly use radiation technology.
Why Are Dental X-Rays Performed?
Dental x-rays are pictures of your teeth and gums the dentist uses to determine your oral health. These images are taken with low amounts of radiation. This is tto give the dentist an idea of how they can assist you if you have:
- tooth decay
- impacted teeth
X-rays are commonly used by dentists and are as important as regular preventive cleanings.
When you are a new patient, the dentist will have you undergo dental x-rays to get an idea of your dental health, especially if you don’t have them from your previous dentist. Otherwise, dental x-rays are typically done on a yearly basis. They can be used more often if the dentist is reviewing a dental problem or treatment. You may have dental x-rays more often based on the following:
- Oral health
- Dental history of gum disease or tooth decay
Children may undergo x-rays more often to monitor how their baby teeth are growing and identify any problems with growing their adult teeth. Sometimes baby teeth need to be pulled in order to let the adult teeth grow.
How Dental X-Rays are Done
X-ray images are usually taken before teeth cleaning. There is no special preparation that needs to be done. Most often you will sit in a chair in the dental office with a lead vest placed over your chest and lap area. The x-ray machine is placed by the dental assistant alongside your head to record images of your mouth. In some dental practices, there is a separate room where x-rays are taken where you are covered with a lead vest and the x-ray machine circles your head as you remain in one spot.
Types of Dental X-Rays
Different types of x-rays record different areas of the mouth to give the dentist various views. The most common are intraoral x-rays as follows:
- Bitewing – This is the type where the patient bites down so the dentist can view how well the bite matches up.
- Occlusal – This type captures all the patients teeth in one image with the jaw in a closed position.
- Panoramic – This x-ray machine rotates around the patients head to view wisdom teeth, implants, etc.
- Periapical – This type focuses on two complete teeth only from root to crown.
In certain instances when the dentist believes there could be a problem outside the mouth, such as the jaw, extraoral x-rays are used.
There is always a dental hygienist or assistant to lead the patient through the x-ray process. The hygienist or assistant will step out to operate the x-ray machine and capture the images. They will often instruct patients to remain as still as possible as the pictures are being taken. If film holders or spacers are being used, the assistant will place them in the patient’s mouth in a certain position to capture the proper images.
After Dental X-Rays
Upon completion, the dentist will look over the x-rays and check them for any abnormalities. The dentist will review them with the patient either before their teeth are cleaned by the hygienist or once the cleaning is done. The dentist will review any problems which may be of concern and discuss a treatment plan. If there are no problems, the hygienist will give the patient further instructions and schedule the next well visit. Dental x-rays are a part of the regular visit and are essential to oral health and care.
How To Get An X-Ray Certification for Dental Work
In order to obtain x-ray certification to work in a dental office, most programs require students to first be certified dental assistants. There may also be requirements to receive formal training in a dentist office before beginning a program to take x-rays. Once the required work experience has been done, search for an accredited program in your state.
If you reside in the State of Michigan, there is a state-approved dental x-ray certification program for dental assistants equivalent to the Michigan Board of Dentistry’s requirement for dental assistants. The Michigan State Board of Dentistry Rules and Regulations requires a Radiographic Certificate in order for a dental assistant to take dental x-rays.
This state-approved program is found exclusively at and in cooperation with Strategic Practice Solutions, LLC. The training is a two-part series and contains course content according to the State of Michigan guidelines. Students who attend this course must be currently employed or in the process of being employed in a dental office with direct patient care. Schedule your consultation for more information and enroll today!