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
Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
Decay between the teeth
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!
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.
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.