Phone (513) 251-5500
January 16th, 2014

Your Question Answered: How Often Do We Need X-Rays?

Category: Uncategorized

X-Rays: Why We Use Them As Diagnostic Tools

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation. They were discovered way back in 1895.

We use them as diagnostic tools since they can penetrate our body tissues. Because different tissues in our body (gums versus our bones, for example) are penetrated at different degrees, we see “shadows” on the film produced by X-rays, as a result.

Our dental x-ray machines are quite sensitive, so you don’t need to worry about the amount of radiation needed to use them as a tool in this way! For comparison’s sake, you get more radiation from your every day background radiation.

As you know, we can see a lot when you come in to visit us by just examining your teeth, but X-rays show decay and infections beneath the surface. We’re better able to see any issues with bone loss, your jaw, and anything unusual happening with the soft tissues. If you have a cavity or tooth decay, for example, it shows up as darker on a radiograph.

So, How Often Are They Needed?

How often we need to get x-rays depends on your age, your ongoing oral health status, your risk level and of course if you have had any issues you report to us.

In general, we advise patients to have bitewing X-rays (see below for more!) every year, and Panorex X-rays every three years. A simple cavity between your teeth can turn into a root canal if not detected—so we simply work to prevent this from happening.

Keep in mind when you are a new patient at a dental practice, it may be recommended to get X-rays to know the status of your gums and teeth. Think of this as your new baseline!

If those X-rays were just done by another dentist, they can simply be forwarded to your new dentist.

Then What Are the Types of X-Rays I’m Receiving?

Bitewing: these show the upper and lower back teeth. They are usually done to check for any bone loss and decay between our teeth and to show how well our upper and lower teeth are lining up.

Periapical: with a person’s first visit to the dentist, these might be done. These show the entire tooth, and they can show if there are any infections/disease, specifically any issues below our gum line or in our jaw.

Occlusal: these who the roof and the floor of our mouth. Any cysts or abnormal growths would be evident through this kind of x-ray. 

Panoramic: when a wide-range view of the health of our mouth is needed—jaw, teeth, sinus, and nasal area—this is used. If there are fractions, infections, cysts, bone abnormalities or some kind of growth, it would be shown here.

Ready to get your dentist appointment setup at Hagen Dental? Get in touch with us today

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