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 may save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort and your teeth!

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Are dental x-rays safe?

We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation. Even though dental x-rays are considered very safe, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary.

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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 upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease.

A full mouth series of dental x-rays is sometimes recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Further x-rays including bite-wings (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) or periapical x-rays (small x-rays concentrated on a particular area) may be taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.

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