The Importance of Dental X-Rays
How Often Do I Need Dental X-Rays?
No two smiles are alike! That’s precisely why there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to dental x-rays. While everyone can benefit from regular dental x-rays, many patients question how necessary they really are, how safe they are and how often they should have x-rays taken. The Dr. E Cosmetic & Family Dentistry team wants to help you have a better understanding of the importance of x-rays in regard to your oral health. Learn more below!
Why are dental x-rays taken?
Dentists utilize x-rays to identify specific areas of concern that aren’t visible to the naked eye during your dental exam. These may include common issues such as cavities, tooth decay, bone loss, abscess or impacted teeth. However, x-rays can also detect serious issues such as dangerous oral infections or tumors. X-rays are a crucial tool in helping dentists identify and treat dental problems early, before they lead to extra time, money and discomfort on your part!
Are dental x-rays safe?
Many patients express concern over the radiation levels contained in x-rays. In reality, the exposed levels of radiation in dental x-rays are extremely low. Dr. E uses digital radiography, which utilizes significantly less radiation than traditional x-ray film. Instant, clear images of the mouth appear on a computer screen visible to patients. This technique helps patients better view and understand their dental issues and treatment options. As a further precaution, safety bibs are placed on patients before x-rays are taken to prevent any unnecessary radiation exposure. The only patients who should avoid getting x-rays are pregnant women because exposure to radiation at any level could be harmful to developing fetuses.
Why do some people need x-rays more frequently than others?
Your dentist may recommend that you have x-rays taken during each visit. Meanwhile, another family member only has x-rays taken every other visit. Why the inconsistency? According to the American Dental Association, patients with recurring dental issues should receive x-rays more frequently than others. Here are some common factors that help dentists determine how often you should get dental x-rays:
- Children and teens require more frequent x-rays than adults in order to monitor the growth of adult teeth and wisdom teeth
- Current oral health. Patients with signs of gum disease require closer monitoring
- Tobacco use. Smokers are often at a higher risk of developing bone loss and periodontal disease
- Oral health history. Debris and decay may be harder to detect in smiles with multiple fillings, crowns and bridges
- Overall health. Patients with chronic conditions requiring ongoing medications are more prone to dry mouth, which accelerates tooth decay
Keep in mind that dentists always request x-rays from new patients in order to establish a good baseline. Adult patients with no pre-existing conditions or recent oral health concerns typically only need x-rays every couple of years. It’s also helpful to note that most insurance companies will pay the full cost of a set of new x-rays every two years.
How do patients benefit from regular x-rays?
Now that we’ve shared the “inside” scoop on x-rays, let’s sum things up! Regularly scheduled x-rays help dentists gain a more comprehensive view of your oral health. YOU benefit from X-rays because they offer early detection of dental issues, saving you time, money and discomfort in the long run. The digital technology used in x-rays produces a very low risk of radiation exposure. Finally, regular dental x-rays give you and your dentist the ability to monitor, preserve and enhance your smile for years to come.
Is it time for your next dental appointment? Contact Dr. E Cosmetic and Family Dentistry today: 480-494-2435