Do I Really Need To Get Dental X-Rays?
Many dental appointments start with your dentist taking an X-ray of your jaw and teeth.
Indeed, dental X-rays are an important part of regular dental health care because they can help diagnose issues that would otherwise be missed. But have you ever wondered about what exactly the benefits of dental X-rays are? If so, here’s everything you should know about this piece of foundational dental technology.
Dental X-rays are an important part of preventive oral health care. They allow your dentist to examine what can’t be seen during a routine exam including:
- Bone loss associated with gum disease
- Tooth decay and cavities under the gums and between teeth
- Abscesses or infections near the root of a tooth or between the gum and tooth
- Teeth that are impacted
- Teeth that haven’t fully developed
- Possible pathologies in the bone, including cancer
How often do I need X-rays?
How often you should get dental X-rays depends on factors such as your age, your health and your dental history.
As local family dentists, we see firsthand the preventative importance of dentistry for children. Kids need X-rays more often than adults because their teeth and jaws are still developing. If they are prone to tooth decay, your dentist may take X-rays every six months. However, if there is a low risk for decay, they may take X-rays only once every 12 or even 24 months.
In addition to X-rays needed for children, before their wisdom teeth grow in, teenagers and young adults should have X-rays every 18 to 24 months to check the development of the final molars.
If the teeth, gums and bone are healthy, and there isn’t a history of tooth decay, adults may only need X-rays taken every one to two years. However, if you’re at risk for tooth decay, gum disease or other oral health problems, you may need X-rays more often.
Are X-rays safe?
We devoted a whole blog post to the subject, but the short answer is yes, dental X-rays are safe when not performed too often and when the proper precautions are taken. In addition, our office uses digital X-ray technology, which drastically cuts the amount of radiation. Read more about it here.
IS IT Time For Your Next Routine Oral Exam?