Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible 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 a single day
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, 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 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 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.