When you go the dentist for a check-up or some other concern, more than often the dentist has asked to take X-rays.
A lot of the times you are wondering, “Why?”
Unfortunately dentists aren’t born with X-ray vision (hopefully someone is working on this!) and when we have a look at your tooth, we can only see the exposed areas of the tooth. There have been cases where I have checked the teeth and it looks great and X-rays tell another story! Cases like those, if we didn’t take x-rays, then you wouldn’t have found those problems and fixed it when they were small.
We are not able to see the sides of the tooth where it is touching the other teeth, we are not able to see under old fillings and we cannot gauge the depth of decay/filling. We are also not able to see roots of teeth and the bone around the tooth. Because of this, X-rays are a great way to get a clearer picture of what is happening to your teeth.
If you are worried about radiation exposure, we can reassure you that dental X-rays are perfectly safe to get done and are very low in radiation exposure. The new digital x-rays are great for this purpose! It is also safe for pregnant women to get x-rays done as well.
Some useful radiation dosage chart information can be found here.
So the next time you need an x-ray, don’t be worried and if you are, talk to your dentist about it and they can explain why it is required. If you have regular check-ups and cleans with the dentist, then you usually only need x-rays repeated every 2 years. If you are at a higher risk of developing dental problems then you may need them more often (6/12/18 monthly).
If it has been a while since your last check-up and there are many concerns, you will usually require a full set. The big dental X-rays (e.g. OPG), need to be done every 5 years (or more often depending on your situation) as part of a general screening and also a useful oral cancer check. We have an OPG x-ray machine on site here at Dental at Keys so it makes it easy to get it all done too!