October 20, 2017
Dental x-rays are one of the main diagnostic tools of modern dentistry. They let your dental care professional get a glimpse of what is going on beneath the gum line, making it easier to identify problems before they become serious. They’re fast and painless, and some dentists include them as part of regular checkups. But, really, how often do you need to get dental x-rays from your family dentist?
When Is a Dental X-Ray Necessary?
There are a few instances when a dental x-ray is necessary or strongly recommended. These include:
- You’re visiting a new dentist for the first time, and your new oral health provider wants to get a comprehensive view of your mouth.
- You’ve suffered an oral injury and your dentist needs to know the true extent of the damage.
- You have a severe toothache and your dentist can’t determine the cause via a visual examination.
- You’re about to undergo dental surgery (such as wisdom tooth extraction) and your surgeon needs to know what they’ll encounter when they’re working on you.
- You’re having pain in your jaw due to bruxism. The x-ray will let your dentist know how much damage has been done to your mandible and teeth.
When Is a Dental X-Ray a Good Idea?
While the above situations are go hand-in-hand with dental x-rays, there are other circumstances when x-rays aren’t necessary but they are a good idea. These include:
- It’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist.
- You haven’t had your wisdom teeth removed. In this case, your dentist may want to take an x-ray every six months or so to keep an eye on those third molars.
- You aren’t physically mature. Children’s jaws are still developing, so many dentists recommend that they have x-rays more often than adults.
Check with your health insurance to learn more about coverage for dental x-rays; it might include this diagnostic procedure as part of your twice-yearly checkup with your dentist. Why not take advantage of it so you and your dentist can get a complete picture of what is going on in your mouth?
Is It Safe to Get Dental X-Rays Frequently?
Dental x-rays use radiation, so many people are convinced that they should be avoided if at all possible. However, keep in mind that many dentists have adopted digital x-ray machines, which use much less radiation than their traditional counterparts. Furthermore, the x-ray is so focused that there is little risk of stray radiation affecting other parts of the body. It’s also worth noting that you’ll wear a lead apron during the procedure for an extra layer of protection.
However often you get them done, dental x-rays can be one of your best friends when it comes to your oral health.
About Ace Dental
Ace Dental has several locations throughout central Texas where we take pride in helping our patients to achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. If it’s been a while since you had a thorough checkup that includes a dental x-ray, contact our Waco office at 254-772-4000.
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