Why do I need X-rays?
Dental X-rays are extremely valuable for helping to detect oral diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues. An X-ray exam may reveal small cavities that can’t be seen by a visual exam, infections in the bone, abscesses, cysts, developmental abnormalities, such as extra or impacted teeth and some types of tumors. Just because such diseases, including early tooth decay, can’t be seen by a visual exam does not mean that treatment isn’t required.
Is it safe to have dental X-rays?
Yes. Numerous precautions and advances in X-ray equipment help protect patients from receiving unnecessary radiation. The amount of radiation received from a dental exam is extremely small compared to other naturally occurring sources of radiation, including minerals in the soil, radon, and cosmic radiation from outer space. A full-mouth series of films, using state-of-the-art technology, will deliver an effective dose that is equivalent to about 19 days of exposure to naturally occurring environmental radiation.
How often are they necessary?
This depends upon the patients individual health needs. If you are a new patient, the dentist may recommend X-rays to determine the current status of your mouth and to check for hidden problems. The need for radiographs varies according to your age, risk for disease, and your past dental history.
Children may need X-rays more often than adults because their teeth and jaws are still developing and they are more prone to tooth decay. X-rays help the dentist discover developmental problems as early as possible so preventative or treatment measures can be started.