Dental X-Rays

Dental radiographs (X-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam.  Dentists and dental 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.  During treatment radiographs are an essential "road map" for the dental team, allowing complete and effective results.

Dental X-rays may reveal:

  • Abscesses or cysts.
  • Bone loss.
  • Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
  • Decay between the teeth.
  • Developmental abnormalities.
  • Poor tooth and root positions.
  • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.

Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, and unnecessary discomfort!

Are dental X-rays safe?

We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment.  Dental x-rays are a very small source of exposure and are shown to be safe.

Dental X-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe.  Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental X-rays.  These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern digital techniques that cut down the exposure time of each X-ray.  Our office uses a very conservative protocol and uses radiographs only when absolutely necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How often should dental X-rays be taken?

The need for dental X-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs.  Your dentist and dental hygienist 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 oral disease.

A full mouth series and/or a panoramic film is recommended for new patients.  A full series or panoramic film is usually good for three to five years in the absence of swelling or other symptoms.  Bite-wing X-rays (X-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended to detect new dental decay or calculus.