What Can Dental X-rays Tell Us about Osteoporosis?

When you arrive at our Scottsbluff dental office for a checkup and x-rays, you might expect some discussion about cavities and periodontal bone loss. As we continue to learn more about evaluating bone density, your future checkups might also include a discussion about osteoporosis.

Researchers are discovering some promising evidence that information regarding osteoporosis can be gained from dental x-rays. If this theory continues to gain momentum, dental professionals will be armed with a valuable tool that could improve the lives of millions of patients.

Because both men and women can expect to experience a decrease in bone density after the age of 35, osteoporosis can affect anyone. However, according to current statistics, it tends to be a silent condition that is seen far more frequently in Caucasian women over the age of 50. It’s also a condition that is impossible to diagnose without an effective screening method. Without any outwardly visible clues that the bone has begun to deteriorate, most patients are surprised to learn of the condition only after suffering from a broken bone.

Screening for osteoporosis in the dental office simply requires that the dentist or assistant be able to interpret each patient’s bone pattern on a dental x-ray by analyzing it with a computer program. No other special equipment or procedures should be required, making it easier to incorporate this type of screening into a routine appointment.

Bone density screening in the dental office offers at least two other advantages. Patients who schedule their dental visits more frequently than their medical checkups will have a greater access to this form of testing, and dental insurance coverage for x-rays tends to be more affordable than medical imaging.

In the hands of your Scottsbluff NE dentist, the ability to screen and monitor osteoporosis can make healthcare more convenient, heightening the quality of your life.