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Dental radiographs (X-rays) are an essential, preventative diagnostic tool that provides valuable information that is not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and decay 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 may even save your teeth from eventually being lost due to decay or periodontal disease.
Are dental X-rays safe?
Radiographs are completely safe, and our digital x-rays are even safer. We are all exposed to radiation in our natural 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.
Even with x-rays being safe, our staff takes necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation while taking dental X-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast, digital 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. We 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 Panoramic X-ray is recommended for new patients and it will show us any bone abnormalities, impacted teeth, infections, tumors, or cysts. This full mouth view 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 six months to detect new dental problems. The initial stages of decay can begin to form in as little as three months and by allowing us to capture the recommended x-rays, we will be able to provide early detection of decay or other dental problems, thus saving you time and money.