Dental radiographs (X-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental examination. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without X-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental X-rays may reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Bone loss
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Decay between teeth
- Developmental abnormalities
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort and your teeth!
Are Dental X-rays Safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of X-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
Dental X-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Your dentist takes necessary precautions to limit your exposure to radiation when taking dental X-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast-film that cuts down the exposure time of each X-ray.
How often should Dental X-rays be Taken?
The need for dental X-rays depends on your individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary X-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental examination, signs and symptoms, age and risk for disease.
A full-mouth series of dental X-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing X-rays (X-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.