Dental x-rays allow your doctor to identify decay in areas that may not be visible in an oral exam. These x-rays are key in maintaining proper oral health and can help your dentist identify dental problems in early stages that the naked eye cannot detect. Identifying problems early can potentially save you money and pain in the long run and is why getting dental x-rays are very important.
Having your dentist take an x-ray yearly will allow them to keep a record of your oral health and will give them a baseline to compare results to. Other problems that can be identified with x-rays include, but are not limited to, decay, bone loss, gum disease, infection, abscesses, cysts, wisdom teeth, and tumors.
Digital x-rays are offered at OC Healthy Smiles, and are considered safer than film x-rays because they have a lower exposure to radiation than film x-rays. The American Society of Radiologic Technologists reports that a set of standard digital x-rays at your dentist is one of the lowest radiation dose tests they have preformed. They report that it is the same amount of radiation that you would experience when aboard a short flight. The protective radiation equipment that dentist uses to shield the rays also lowers your exposure to these rays exponentially.
The timing of when you should have an x-ray done on your teeth is dependent on a couple of key factors. For example, If you are currently seeing your dentist and have a history or risk of gum disease, your dentist may elect to have x-rays taken as often as every 6 months.
It is customary to have an x-ray at your initial exam so your dentist can have a baseline to record any future changes. If you are seeing a new dentist and you had an x-ray taken within 6 months, then those x-rays can be faxed to your new dentist for their view and records. This is one of the only reasons why x-rays may not be taken at an initial exam.
If you are a patient who has great oral hygiene, regularly visits the dentist, and a limited history of dental or gum disease, it is possible that new x-rays are taken every 1-3 years. This will be based on the judgement of the dental team.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum, it is important to have a regular check-up with your dentist to maintain healthy smile.
If you have more questions about x-rays or would like to schedule your next visit, please call OC Healthy Smiles at (714) 422-0596.