The Truth About Dental X-rays

The Truth About Dental X-rays

Patients often times worry about having x-rays taken because they don?t want the exposure to the radiation.?? What people don’t understand is that almost everyone requires regular X-rays to keep track of their oral health. But the question is, how often should x-rays be taken? The answer depends on your medical and dental history and the current condition of your mouth. Some people may need X-rays as often as every six months. People who visit the dentist regularly and have excellent oral health may need X-rays only every three years or so.

Why Are X-rays So Important?

The answer is simple. Visual examinations don?t tell dentists everything they need to know. X-rays allow your dentist to see between and inside your teeth. X-rays are diagnostic, and they are also preventative. They allow your roots to be seen and the bone underneath your gums to be seen? places not normally visible to the naked eye. They are used to find cavities, check the health of the bony area around the tooth, determine if periodontal disease is an oral care issue, and see the status of developing teeth.

Who needs x-rays more often?

  • Children and young adults under the age of 18, who are considered ?high risk? for decay need x-rays every 6 months to 1 year, depending on age. X-rays in younger children also will help keep track of the correct tooth development.
  • Adults with many restorations: Patients who have a lot of dental work are considered high risk, and should have radiographs taken about every 12 months so that the restorations can be monitored and any recurrent decay can be detected early.
  • Patients with moderate or severe bone loss. Since x-rays show bone level, they can reveal if bone loss has gotten significantly worse, and a treatment plan can be made before it?s too late to save the teeth in question.
  • Patients with dry mouth. Most of you don?t know that many medications cause dry mouth. If you don?t have enough saliva to act as a buffer, you can get what?s called rampant decay on your teeth. Patients with dry mouth should be monitored regularly, and have x-rays taken more often to check for root decay.
  • Smokers! Smokers should have radiographs taken more often because smoking increases the risk of bone loss and periodontal disease

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