The Importance of Dental X-Rays and Why We Recommend Them
Updated: May 9
X-rays, also known as radiographs, allow your dentist and dental hygienist to see between and inside your teeth. A visual exam alone does not always give you all the necessary information. Dental X-rays are important because they give your dentist the whole picture. They help dentists see the condition of your teeth and also the roots, jaw placement, and facial bone composition. They will help your dentist find and treat dental problems before they become too serious or advanced. This includes decay or diseases that are not visible to the naked eye.
What do dental x-rays show exactly? Radiographs can detect the following:
● Small areas of decay in between the teeth.
● Decay under fillings, crowns and bridges.
● Cysts and other types of tumors.
● Bone loss due to periodontal disease.
● The position of teeth.
● Abscesses (infection).
● Subgingival calculus (tartar under the gums).
How often you need x-rays depends on the state of your oral health. Everyone’s oral health varies. Some people who have recently been diagnosed with gum or dental disease may need X-rays every six months to a year, while others who don’t have ongoing dental treatment may need to get an X-ray once every couple of years. If you’re a new patient and haven’t gotten an X-ray done recently, your new dentist may recommend X-rays to assess the state of your oral health.
Some people wonder if dental radiographs are safe because of the exposure to radiation. Several factors and practices work together to make dental x-rays safe. The amount of radiation used to capture a dental x-ray is very small. Added protection is provided with lead aprons that cover the abdomen and a thyroid collar that covers the neck.
For some, getting dental x-rays is not fun. However, keep in mind they are a vital tool in detecting decay and other possible dental problems early on. This can save you both money and pain. Prevention and early detection is key to healthy teeth and mouth.