Dental x-rays give dental professionals important diagnostic information that may not be visible to the naked eye during routine dental exams.
Though these images are crucial to help identify problems, there are misconceptions about the safety of x-rays.
McDonogh Dental Associates seeks to keep its patients well-informed about the benefits of dental x-rays used in our practice. Let’s start by clearing up a few key points.
When Do Dentists Recommend X-rays?
You will not need dental x-rays (radiographs) at every visit. Most dental offices recommend all new patients get a full mouth series (FMX) to establish a baseline of their dental and periodontal health. This set of x-rays is vitally important to provide additional information to the clinical exam. After that, another full series is recommended about every three-five years depending on your dental health.
Aside from these routine cases, they are also used to identify specific oral problems.
Radiographs are needed to identify:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Bone loss
- Tumors (Cancerous and benign)
- Decay between the teeth
- Growth abnormalities
- Impacted and malposed teeth
- Extra or supernumerary teeth
- Fractured teeth
Your dentist may recommend more frequent x-rays if you are at a higher risk of getting cavities, or if they find dental problems during an exam.
Benefits of Dental X-rays
X-rays help dentists identify oral problems that are not visible on the surface of the tooth. Teeth are small by nature, and tiny issues can lead to significant problems.
X-rays give dentists a complete snapshot of the mouth and jaws and helps identify problems deep in the roots and jawbones.
Patients can also benefit from dental x-rays financially. Since they can detect oral issues in their early stages, x-rays help dentists nip problems in the bud. Patients do not have to wait for the issue to become more severe, avoiding expensive treatment and discomfort.
Dental X-ray Safety
Some patients have misconceptions about x-ray safety. Our bodies receive radiation daily from natural sources. While it is true that radiation exposure occurs during the x-ray process, the levels of exposure the patient receives are minimal. Although excessive radiation exposure may have a link to the risk of cancer, the dentist provides ample protection to minimize exposure. In addition, at McDonogh Dental we use digital x-rays instead of the older film x-rays, which require less exposure time to make a sharper image, resulting in less radiation for the patient and a better picture for the dentist. To provide a sense of the amount of radiation received from dental x-rays, a single panoramic x-ray exposes patients’ to 50% less radiation than if one were to fly cross country.
Schedule Your Dental X-rays Today
If you have pain in your teeth or gums but cannot see the problem, you will need x-rays to help diagnose the cause. These images can quickly identify issues before they turn into expensive emergencies.
McDonogh Dental Associates provides cosmetic and restorative dentistry services along with preventive services. We have the knowledge and experience to interpret x-rays and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Call McDonogh Dental Associates today to schedule an appointment.