Is your hair interfering with your teeth?
Synthetic hair braids and jewelry can distort the image of your teeth during x-rays, making it harder for dentists to obtain an accurate picture of the health of your teeth, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.
Dentists have reported that panoramic x-rays can show an image block-out that is consistent with the synthetic hair braids worn by the patient. “When a block-out occurs, it is difficult to make a proper diagnosis,” comments Gordon Isbell, III, DMD, MAGD, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. “What tends to be a bigger problem than hair braids are patients who wear large hoop earrings or nose rings,” he says.
Dentists use full mouth (panoramic) x-rays to get a better picture of gum disease and to show decay. The panoramic x-ray also shows sinus and nasal structure, cysts or abscessed teeth and provides an exact location of wisdom teeth to determine if an extraction is needed.
To avoid x-ray distortion, Dr. Isbell says that the only thing patients have to do is take off any jewelry before the procedure is initiated. In the case of hair braids, patients must tie them up or remove them from the image area while the x-ray is being taken.