Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a periodontal examination. Periodontists and hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
Abscesses or cysts.
Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
Decay between the teeth.
Poor tooth and root positions.
Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
Detecting and treating dental and/or periodontal problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and ultimately your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. The team at Crestal Health Periodontics will take necessary precautions to limit your exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect your body and using modern, digital techniques that cut down on your exposure to radiation as well.
It is important to understand that the presence of problem poses a risk to your oral health, and potentially your overall health. Yes, there is a risk when your body is exposed to radiation. And, that risk always needs to be minimized. However, the potential risk that a growing lesion poses to your health is much greater than the risks of radiation from routine dental x-rays.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. A full series of radiographs (usually 18-20 pictures) is usually recommended every five years. A full series of x-rays may be necessary on a more frequent basis for patients that have severe periodontal problems. Your periodontist will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.
Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems. In addition, an updated x-ray is necessary whenever there is a tooth in which pain develops.