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How often should you have dental x-rays taken?

Dental x-rays allow the dentist to see the state of hard tissue not visible to the naked eye.  They aid in the detection of cavities and is used to visualize the amount of bone holding teeth in its socket.  We also use x-rays to detect any abnormalities below the soft gum tissue.  If we catch problems at the beginning, it constitutes a better prognosis and the solution or treatment is usually much less invasive.

The basic guideline is to have check-up dental x-rays taken once per year and full mouth x-rays once every 3-5 years.  However, a closer look at this answer depends on your present oral health, your age, and your history of risk for disease. Children who are still growing may require x-rays more often because their teeth and jaw are still developing. Their teeth are often more likely to be affected by tooth decay than an adult.  Some health conditions are tied to your mouth, so your health also plays a part in how often you should have x-rays.  There are some people who have perfectly healthy mouths that may not have the need for x-rays as often.  Your mouth and overall health contribute quite a bit to how often they should be taken.

As a new patient, the dentist will need to take x-rays to perform a proper exam. This gives them a baseline to help identify changes that may come along later, as well as the present status of your overall oral health. They will also help to show any areas of concern for decay that may be developing or has already started. It also allows them to evaluate the development and growth of the jaw and teeth.

A common worry with dental x-rays is the level of exposure to radiation.  The dental x-ray tools and techniques help limit the exposure.  The levels are extremely low which makes the risk of potential harmful effects very small.  There are also industry standards that offices must follow that require checks and maintenance of the x-ray machines to make sure that they are not releasing higher levels.  Another break through is the digital x-ray which drops that level by another 80%.  All precautions to keep you safe are part of the routine whenever x-rays are needed.  The positive outcome of taking x-rays that help in prevention of larger problems far out ways the limited exposure you would incur.  Check with your dentist at your next check-up, how often you should have x-rays.  Help them to help you have a healthy and happy mouth.

WRITTEN by:amanda
In category: Dental Tips

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Shena S.

I recently visited Dr. Tate Vo’s dental office in Rochester Hills, MI. I live in Harper Woods bordering Grosse Pointe, MI and I was a little concerned about the 45 minute drive. Upon my arrival, I was offered tea, coffee or juice, a massage, hand wax and jewerly cleaning…. I thought I needed to check the sign on the door again. Is this a dentist office? The entire team was awesome and wanted to make certain that the visit was pleasant and it was! I’m no longer concerned about the ride…it was worth every mile

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