X-rays, also known as diagnostic films, are required at different times and in different frequencies for each patient. Typically if you are in good health and go to regular dental visits every 6-months you may not need to have your x-rays done very often, every couple of years or so. Some people need x-rays every 6 months. If you are a new patient you may need to have x-rays done by us especially if your previous dentist was unable to send your charts over to us with your previous x-rays. Your age can be a contributing factor to how often you have x-rays as well.
If you fall in one of the following categories you may require x-rays more often that other people:
People with dry mouth syndrome (this can happen for a variety of reasons)
People who drink a lot of sugary beverages (this can lead to more cavities)
Anyone with extensive restorative work (fillings)
People with gum disease (to monitor for bone loss)
So what can we tell from your x-rays? Dental x-rays call tell us a lot about your dental health. Some of these things include:
If you have changes in your jaw bone or are in need of a root canal
If there is any bone loss (this is likely due to gum disease)
Tooth decay that we might not be able to detect from your dental exam
Tooth decay between teeth that we might not be able to see without an x-ray
Tooth decay happening under an existing filling
An abscess (an infection between the gum and tooth or at the root of a tooth)
If the patient is a pediatric patient there might be additional reason we need x-rays including:
Check for wisdom teeth (typically around the age of 16)
Check for cysts or some types of tumors
Check to see if adult teeth are on their way or are coming in too soon
If there is enough space for the adult teeth coming in
Just like adults, check for decay
There are a variety of dental x-rays that are used for different things. We will discuss these in a future blog post. The important thing to know is that x-rays will expose you to a small amount of radiation especially when using digital x-rays. This makes the risk of issues from the radiation produced with these x-rays minimal. However, if you are concerned about radiation exposure from your x-rays be sure to talk to us about your concerns.
The information on this Blog is provided for general information, is not intended to provide medical, dental or surgical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No dentist/patient relationship is established by your use of this Site. No diagnosis or treatment is being provided. The information contained here should be used in consultation with a dentist of your choice. No guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within this Blog.