X-rays are crucially important to the continued health of your teeth. Whether you’ve had an x-ray recently or you haven’t had one in years, it might be time to ask about your next one.
The information we glean from these images is crucial for several different reasons, but none more so than the ability to detect potentially harmful conditions. Many oral health problems aren’t obvious to the dentist or the patient without some extra investigation.
Dental x-rays can show the early signs of gum disease in addition to emerging tooth infections and decay. In addition to these common issues, teeth x-rays can reveal severe problems, including cancerous tumors. Your dentist will be able to recognize abnormal development, bone loss, and more before the issue becomes dangerous to your health.
How Often Should I Get a Dental X-Ray?
Because dental x-rays are an important diagnostic tool, how often we’ll need to take new images depends on a variety of factors - your age, current health, and dental history are some. In general, you can expect to have x-rays taken in these instances:
New patients almost always require full-mouth x-rays
Healthy adults need dental x-rays once every six months to three years
Children need x-rays one to two times a year
Those at risk for tooth decay or other health complications may require more frequent x-rays
How Safe are X-rays?
An x-ray doesn’t expose you to any more radiation than you’d undergo on an average day, but we understand when some patients are concerned about the safety of dental x-rays and the radiation the equipment might emit. At Life Point Dental, it is important that our patients feel safe and comfortable - we take all the necessary precautions when it comes to x-rays, including additional precautions if you might be pregnant.
Even if you haven’t felt a toothache, x-rays can find signs of underlying conditions early - saving your teeth, time, and money!
Types of Dental X-Rays
When we talk about dental x-rays, we’re referring to a broad category of tools we use to evaluate your oral health. Some x-rays might focus on the health of the teeth themselves, and others might look at the jawbone and skull. Most commonly, you’ll receive intraoral x-rays, which take a closer look at the condition of your teeth. Even within intraoral x-rays, there are several different varieties of imaging, which include:
Bite-wing: Bite-wing x-rays give us a comprehensive view of each tooth., allowing us to check for early signs of periodontal disease.
Panoramic: These full-mouth x-rays allow us to evaluate the condition of your upper teeth, lower teeth, and jaw.
Periapical: This digital dental x-ray gives us an image of the whole tooth, including the entire root. We might use these images to look for deep-set problems with the bone and root.