Do I need to have x-rays?

I’m often asked at dental appointments, “do I need to have x-rays?” Patients are sometimes concerned about the amount of radiation that they are receiving. So why do we take x-rays?

An intra-oral exam will allow us to see all the surfaces of the tooth visible to the naked eye, but we cannot see between or below your teeth without x-rays. X-rays allow us to:

  • Visualize disease around teeth and surrounding tissue
  • Detect and treat dental problems early on, thus reducing costs for the patient
  • Show the decay around your teeth or underneath fillings that may be missed by the human eye during a dental exam
  • Reveal infection or bone loss
  • Monitor how permanent teeth are growing for kids
  • See tumors or cysts
  • Check for cavities or oral health concerns
  • Observe wisdom teeth as they grow

Normally x-rays are taken once a year, so we can diagnose problems before they become “big”. Our office is equipped with digital x-rays technology, instead of traditional x-rays, which offers several advantages. Although digital x-rays make use of the same type of light used in the traditional method, a lower level is required to produce a clear image. This reduces the level of x-ray radiation a patient is exposed to by 80-90%.

Since the digital x-rays are stored in a computer, they can be easily enlarged, rotated, or compared to earlier images in order to make faster, more accurate diagnosis of issues. We can use software that allows us to produce comparison images that can quickly compare a series of x-rays taken over a period of time. These comparisons can show us how a patient’s teeth have changed over time, giving us a clear idea of where problems might be developing

If you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to call us or ask us at your next visit.