As dentists, we are commonly asked why we need to take dental x-rays. For most of our patients, it’s not the cost that concerns them, but the safety. We have answered some of our most FAQs when it comes to dental x-rays.
WHY DO I NEED TO HAVE DENTAL X-RAYS?
Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. We use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities or disease, and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental X-rays may reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts.
- Bone loss caused by periodontal disease
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
- Decay between the teeth.
- Developmental abnormalities.
- Poor tooth and root positions.
- Impacted wisdom teeth (pictured above with decay on adjacent tooth).
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
ARE DENTAL X-RAYS SAFE?
Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are safe. We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment every day. Your dentist should always take the necessary precautions to limit the amount of radiation you are exposed to by using a led apron and only taking the x-rays necessary to diagnose and treat your dental condition.
At Pure NZ Dental, we use digital x-rays which can decrease the amount of radiation you are exposed to by fifty percent or more compared to traditional film x-rays. The amount of radiation exposure from a full set of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources. Did you know that the amount of radiation you are exposed to from a set of dental x-rays is equivalent to a four hour plane ride?
HOW OFTEN SHOULD DENTAL X-RAYS BE TAKEN?
No matter how safe dental x-rays are, we still want to limit the amount of exposure you have and will only diagnose the x-rays needed. We don’t take x-rays every year or two just because a patient is “due” for them. For us, each patient is unique and therefore dental x-rays will be prescribed on a case by case basis.
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. We will take the necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.
If you have had x-rays taken within the last year at a previous dental clinic, ask them to transfer your dental x-rays to you or your new dental clinic to avoid having to take new ones.
I’M PREGNANT, ARE DENTAL X-RAYS SAFE?
While dental x-rays are safe, we will usually avoid taking them while you are pregnant especially if you have good oral health. Of course, in the case of an emergency toothache, a dental x-ray may need to be taken. In such cases, we will limit your exposure to radiation by using a led apron and only taking the minimal amount of x-rays needed to diagnose and treat your dental condition.