The frequency you need to have dental X-rays depends upon your dental history and current dental health. If you are lucky enough to have good dental health, getting an X-ray every two to three years will be enough. If your dental history is more problematic, we may recommend that you have an X-ray as frequently as every 6 months until there is an improvement. Children need X-rays more frequently than adults because their jaws and teeth are still growing and change more frequently. If you come to us as a new patient, to give you the best possible care, we will recommend an initial X-ray to determine the present status of your oral health and to set a baseline to identify future changes.
Why Do You Need Dental X-Rays?
We recommend that you have a visual dental exam every 6 months. However, certain conditions can be discovered by an X-ray at a much earlier stage than by a visual inspection, saving you inconvenience and expense by treating the condition before it has chance to get worse. For instance, small cavities between the teeth are hidden from view. Likewise, small cavities may be hidden by fillings. Conditions such as infections in the bone, abscesses, cysts, and tumors all form beneath the skin and, without an X-ray, cannot be spotted before they start giving the patient, you, discomfort.
Is It Safe To Have Frequent X-rays?
American Dental Association state that, although dental X-ray exams are safe, they do require small amounts of radiation exposure. Every effort is made to ensure that any radiation exposure is always As Low As Reasonably Achievable (which is known as the ALARA principle). To give extra protection, each patient will be covered with a leaded apron, or with a leaded thyroid collar. These are used to shield your thyroid and your abdomen during X-rays.
In summary, the X-ray is an important tool in our fight to achieve your perfect dental health. The risks posed by not having dental X-rays are certainly many times greater the minute risks of the X-ray itself.
Century Dental Dr. Jefferson Call, DMD & Dr. Dix Densley, DDS