When you go to appointments for professional dental care, you may wonder why you need to get x-rays as a part of your examination. Even if you take good care of your teeth and gums at home every day, there could be small issues developing that cannot be seen with the naked eye. That’s where these dental x-rays come in.
X-rays are used to detect dental problems very early on. The earlier a potential issue is found, the better the chances that your local dentist will be able to treat the problem more effectively and with the least-invasive treatment possible.
X-rays of your teeth and gums can help your dental care provider to see if there is any decay forming between your teeth. With x-rays, your dentist can also see if any decay is developing beneath any existing dental fillings. When caught early, the dentist may be able to give you a new filling and reduce the risk of further damage to the teeth.
X-rays can also be used to detect issues with your gums and underlying bone structures. Infections, abscesses, and abnormalities can be detected through x-rays, allowing your dentist to address issues more promptly.
Regularity of dental x-rays has been a trending topic over the last few years. It wasn’t too long ago that dentists recommended all patients receive annual bitewing x-rays. This was largely due to something that might be called the “whole mouth” theory, by which bitewing x-rays expand views of the mouth and allow dentists to better view and speculate on every spot and fissure.
However, concerns about radiation exposure have led many experts to start advising against annual x-rays—despite the incredibly low dosage found in bitewing x-rays. Some dentists advise their patients that since the cost of the annual x-ray is typically picked up by insurance, they have nothing to lose by getting it. The anti-radiation movement argues against this, obviously.
The best advice by our Northridge dentists is that new patients should submit to a bitewing x-ray. This establishes a baseline for your file, and enables the dentist to compare the results to your overall dental history.
For repeat patients and those with stellar dental records, annual x-rays are probably not necessary.
For more about dental x-rays and problems they can expose, talk to our expert in dental x-rays in Northridge.