How often do you take dental X-rays and why do I need them?

Digital dental X-rays, or dental radiographs, are a critical tool to accurately and completely diagnose the health of your teeth, gums, and surrounding jaw bones.  They help to us to see the areas in your mouth where our eyes are unable to visualize.  Without dental X-rays we are unable to confirm the health of a wide area of your teeth, gums, and jaw bones.   Dental X-rays can detect oral pathologies that are below the teeth in bone such as oral cancer and cysts.   For these reasons, they are considered are integral part of optimal, life-long dental health.

There are two series of dental x-rays, a full-mouth series of X-rays and Bite-Wing X-rays- both are very quick and easy for the patient.  Diagnosis is immediate since we use digital x-rays and the images are processed for interpretation immediately.  A Full-Mouth Series of X-rays is taken during your initial visit at our office and once every 5 years thereafter.  Bite-Wing X-rays are taken once a year.  These two X-ray exams allow us to visualize many areas of your oral cavity.  In situations where a problem is confined to a single tooth and we have previously taken a full-mouth series of X-rays it is possible to take a single X-ray and compare it to previous X-rays.  This is very useful in allowing us to determine if problems are getting worse or improving. 

Dental X-rays allow us to see many areas where otherwise problems may go unnoticed.  They allow us to check under existing fillings and crowns for cavities.  Many times the problems can manifest for months to years in areas that are clinically undetectable and do not hurt, but X-ray detection allows easy diagnosis.  Clearly, this can lead to early diagnosis of many dental problems resulting in simpler, more conservative treatment and less cost.

Dental x-rays also allow us to check the bone level around your teeth which is critical to teeth’s stability while you chew and speak.  Furthermore, X-rays are essential to diagnose Periodontal Disease, a disease causing loss of bone around teeth and possibly tooth-loss.  Along with being able to see the jaw bone around your teeth, x-rays can even see the presence of tartar below the gumline.    

We hope this information helps you to understand the importance of dental X-rays.  Our office is committed to providing the very best dental care.  This means we want to catch problems early and see any areas of concern.  We also want to provide total mouth health and help to keep your teeth for a lifetime