Why do I need dental radiographs (x-rays)?


The American Dental Association recommends that bitewing (cavity detecting) radiographs be taken once a year and a full mouth series to be taken every three years.

Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues can not be seen when your dentist examines your mouth clinically. Radiographs can reveal the presence of small cavities between the teeth, infections in the bone, abscesses, cysts, developmental abnormalities and some types of tumors. A failure to diagnose and treat these conditions before obvious signs and symptoms have developed can threaten your oral and general health.

Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and unnecessary discomfort!

Dental radiographs are only taken when absolutely necessary and with the use of modern digital imaging, the amount of radiation received is miniscule. Only a small part of the body is exposed and the risk of harmful effects from dental radiographs is extremely small.

There is at present no proof of such effects from doses commonly employed in dental practice… Recent analyses suggest that the cancer risk to a patient from a dental radiographic examination is of the order of one in a million!

How do dental radiographs compare to other sources of radiation?

The amount of radiation that we are exposed to from dental radiographs is very small compared to our daily exposure from things like, cosmic radiation and naturally-occurring radioactive elements (for example those producing radon).

Can I have radiographs if I am pregnant or think I might be pregnant?

If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant you should first check with doctor to find out if dental radiographs are permissible.  Since dental radiographs are limited to the head and neck region, it is unlikely that the developing baby receives any detectible radiation.  The American Dental Association states, “A radiograph may be needed for dental treatment or a dental emergency that can’t wait until after the baby is born. Untreated dental infections can pose a risk to the fetus, and dental treatment may be necessary to maintain the health of the mother and child.”

 Brush, floss, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles!