Dental X-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible to the eye during a regular dental exam.
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 the 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 eleven days from natural sources.
Dental X-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental X-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, digital sensors that cut down the exposure time of each X-ray.
How often should dental X-rays be taken?
The need for X-rays depends on each patient’s 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 exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for a disease.
A full mouth series of X-rays is recommended for new patients. Bite-wing X-rays show the contacts between the teeth. They are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems. A panoramic X-ray is recommended by the ADA for oral cancer screening once every three years. This image is also beneficial for diagnosing the jaw joints and evaluating wisdom teeth.