Dental radiographs (X-rays) are an essential diagnostic tool 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 including decay, infections, cysts, and other pathology in order to 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 can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental X-rays safe?
While we are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment, we try to minimize any additional radiation and take all exposure very seriously. We only use digital x-rays which require the least amount of radiation. 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. We always weigh the benefit of information gathered from x-rays with the risk of radiation when taking x-rays. We are sensitive to our patients' safety concerns but cannot perform a comprehensive exam without x-rays. Dental work, including cleanings, performed without periodic x-rays is considered supervised neglect and is not something the patient can consent to and/or waive liability for.
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 every 6 - 24 months depending on individual need.