Regular visits to the dentist help with early detection of dental issues before they develop into something that requires extensive treatment. Although a physical exam of your mouth can reveal some signs of issues, there are oral diseases that are invisible to the naked eye. That’s why X-rays are still such an important part of preventative dental care. Dental X-rays take pictures of your teeth, bones and surrounding soft tissues and can help reveal issues with teeth, mouth, and jaw. X-rays detect even the slightest evidence of oral health issues in their early stages. The early detection provided by X-rays allows your dentist to develop an effective, prompt treatment plan.
Issues dental X-rays detect
Dental X-rays are an essential part of maintaining and protecting oral health for more than their ability to find issues such as tooth decay. Dental X-rays also help detect:
- Oral infections
- Gum disease
- Broken tooth roots
- Damage to bones supporting teeth
- Impacted teeth
- Teeth in the wrong location
- Location of permanent teeth in children with baby teeth
- Cysts, abscesses, and tumors
Along with detecting issues usually before any symptoms are present, the dentist also uses dental X-rays to plan treatments for orthodontics, repairing extensive cavities, placing dental implants, performing root canal surgery and planning difficult tooth extractions.
Frequency of dental x-rays
Your dentist only requires dental X-rays when they’re necessary for treatment and diagnosis of oral health issues. The frequency of dental x-rays depends on your health, age, signs of dental issues, and risk for oral disease. For someone without any current tooth decay and don’t have a high risk for cavities, age is a big factor in determining the frequency of X-rays. Adults should have bitewing X-rays every 2-3 years, teens every 1.5-3 years, and children every 1-2 years. If a patient has tooth decay or is at a higher risk for cavities, a dentist usually takes bitewings every six months to 1.5 years for adults and every 6-12 months for children and teens.
Concerns with dental x-rays
Although you may be concerned about the radiation exposure from dental X-rays, the amount of radiation used is quite low. With modern advances, the radiation levels used are minuscule, and the American Dental Association publishes recommendations for dental practices to ensure that there’s minimal radiation exposure. Your dentist takes several precautions to keep you safe during dental X-rays including having you wear a protective apron and collar and keeping the radiation exposure as brief as possible with digital X-rays and fast film speeds. The risk from dental X-rays is low compared to their potential benefits as they help uncover dental issues before they can develop into something severe. By finding problems early, dental X-rays save you from the expense, pain and time involved with treating damaging oral health issues.
Keep your smile healthy and beautiful by practicing great oral health care and continuing your regular dental visits with Creative Dental.