Why Do You Need X-Rays of My Teeth during a Routine Exam?
Posted on 3/13/2016 by Thomas Mahar
It's time for your dental exam and cleaning, and your hygienist informs you that they need X-rays of your teeth. While the process of getting X-rays is fairly convenient for you and you probably automatically comply, have you ever wondered exactly why your dentist needs these images when nothing is bothering you?
After all, with other X-rays in the medical field, you only have them taken when something is suspected to be wrong, so what is the deal with those dental X-rays?
The Importance of Regular Dental X-Rays
Dental X-rays work to capture images of your mouth, especially the areas that your dentist won't be able to see. The teeth and bones in your mouth will absorb more radiation than the cheek and gum tissues, creating an image that shows the differences between various types of tissue.
This means that your dentist will be able to use X-ray images to detect problems that won't be visible just by looking in your mouth, such as gum disease, infection, bone loss, and tooth decay. Since 80% of decay is actually found between the teeth where your dentist can't see it, it should be easy to see why routine X-rays are so important.
How Often Do You Need X-rays?
If X-rays are so important, should you be getting them at each dental visit? Not necessarily. Your dentist will make recommendations on your X-ray needs based off of the health of your mouth. Most dental X-rays are repeated every year or two, but if your dentist is watching a problem, you might have them completed more frequently.
Fortunately, dental X-rays are safe, so you won't need to worry about radiation exposure, even if you are required to have more frequent X-rays taken.