Even though the dentist has a head-on, front and center view of your teeth during an examination, problem areas can often hide in the invisible nooks and crannies around your teeth.  For this reason, dentists employ the use of X-Ray technology to get complete scans of your teeth and the surrounding areas.  The X-Ray system has been in use for decades due to its numerous benefits in the field of dental care, and its relatively low risk nature.  Read on to see what exactly dental X-Rays entail, and how they help your dentist provide you with better oral care.

What Are X-Rays?

X-Rays are a form of radiation that allows dentists to take images that see right through your skin and into your skull, providing them with clear and easily analyzed images of your teeth and surrounding jaw bone.  The idea of being shot with radiation can be frightening for many people, and while there are certainly health concerns regarding overexposure, the X-Rays used in the dentist’s office are safe relative to other forms of medical radiation.  In fact, dental X-Rays account for a mere 3% of the medical radiation most people receive on a yearly basis!  Furthermore, dentists are often careful to take every conceivable precaution when subjecting patients to X-Rays.

Benefits of Dental X-Rays

Dentists need to see in between your teeth and in the tight spaces of your mouth that are hard to reach.  In these spaces lie most of our largest problem areas in regards to tooth decay.  X-Rays make this a simple and completely non-invasive procedure, whereas accessing these areas physically may be painful and downright impossible otherwise.  Furthermore, the images taken via X-Ray allow dentists to monitor your health by archiving and comparing photographs over a period of time.  Finally, X-Rays drastically improve cosmetic dental work by allowing dentists to have an easily referenced, highly detailed photo of your entire facial structure to consult.

How Often Do You Need Dental X-Rays?

dental-calendar-checkupThe frequency with which a patient needs X-Rays is often a function of how at risk they are for certain oral diseases, and how adverse X-Ray exposure may be for the patient.  Typically, it is best to allow your dentist to decide that based on your particular needs.  However, a good rule of thumb is that patients generally only need X-Rays once per year depending on their situation, or every other visit if they are having two regular dental check-ups.  Pregnant patients will certainly not want to get X-Rays, as it may adversely affect their child. Conversely, patients with a history of severe gum disease could want more frequent X-Rays in order to monitor the decay of their gum line accurately and keep tabs on the disease’s progression.