Your teeth tell a story. But like any story, sometimes the most important parts are subtle or easy to miss. It’s why dentists, like our team here at Dental Concepts and Orthodontics, use X-rays as a way to see the finer details of your teeth that may not be visible to the naked eye.
Dental X-rays are one of the best tools we have to spot dental issues before they become a big problem, and they’re an excellent resource for guiding effective treatments. But sometimes X-rays are uncomfortable [more on that later], and of course many people these days are concerned about radiation. So how often do you need to get X-rays completed and are there any risks to watch for?
The Value of Dental X-Rays
Dental X-rays use a light radiation to essentially look at teeth both inside and out, and identify even the smallest of issues before they have an opportunity to worsen. X-rays are capable of spotting issues with:
- Tooth Decay
- Poor Fillings
- Bone Loss
- Oral Abnormalities
- Contaminated Dental Pulp, and More
They can help determine if a wisdom tooth is impacted, or if a child’s adult teeth are growing in correctly, or if there are weaknesses in the enamel. Essentially, dental x-rays provide more detailed results than are capable using eyes alone, and can look inside of teeth to get an even better view of the status of your oral health.
How Often Are X-Rays Needed?
There are situations where a dentist may need to perform multiple x-rays. For example, if we’re treating a more complex case, x-rays can help us make sure that the treatments we used have effectively addressed the issues. Certain patients, such as seniors and children, may benefit from X-rays more often, while middle aged adults (whose teeth are not changing at a rapid pace) may need them less.
But, in general, x-rays need to be completed once every 2 years, with alterations to the timeline based on the health of your teeth and your risk factors.
Is That Safe?
X-rays use radiation, so there has always been a bit of concern that getting dental x-rays often could cause long term health issues. It’s true that it’s always a good idea to limit radiation exposure, but dental x-rays emit less radiation than one cross country flight, and that doesn’t include the full body scans. There’s no such thing as “no risk” radiation, but in the amount of radiation is so small it is believed to be medically insignificant for essentially all patients.
That said, we still care about your safety and comfort as much as you do. With traditional dental x-rays, the issue most people have is with comfort, as often one needs to put mouthpieces inside of the mouth and gums to get a good scan. We can use what’s known as the Planmeca Romexis Versatile Imaging system, which involves no mouthpieces and offers even lower radiation.
For us, the images are also often more detailed, so while we do use traditional x-rays for some patients, the Planmeca Romexis Versatile Imaging system opens the door for even better images and less radiation.
Come See Us Today
Our dentists here at Dental Concepts and Orthopedics in Salinas will always try to minimize your risk and maximize your dental health, taking the most conservative approach to yield the best results. If we need to take x-rays, we’ll be happy to explain why they’re valuable, and if you have concerns, we can walk you through the risk factors or discuss additional options.