Dental radiographs (X-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Very often teeth can look healthy during an exam when a dentist looks at your teeth but when radiographs are taken problems in between teeth and inside teeth can often be identified. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without X-rays, problem areas may go undetected which can lead to toothaches, or even tooth loss.
Dental X-rays may reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts (infections)
- Bone loss (related to infections of the teeth or gums)
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
- Decay (cavities) between the teeth.
- Developmental abnormalities (congenitally missing 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 your teeth!
Are dental X-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our 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. In addition to this safe procedure, dental x-rays can help prevent severe toothaches and infections that otherwise would go unnoticed.
Dental X-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental X-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast 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. One patient may only need x-rays every two years while another may require them every 6 months. We will make the determination on how often you need x-rays during your initial dental visit after we have reviewed your medical and dental history, performed your dental exam, looked at signs and symptoms, and evaluated your risk for disease.
A full mouth series of dental X-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series 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 once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
Our office also have the capability to take and read 3D X-rays in our office (Cone beam computed tomography). This type of radiograph produces and incredible amount of information and can identify pathology or dental problems that are not detected by traditional x-rays. They also allow us to determine the quality and quantity of bone available when treatment planning for dental implants. We use a 3D X-ray that utilizes the lowest dose of radiation that is on the market (ULD).
For more information on the services we provide, please contact our office.