How Often Should You Get Dental X-Rays
If you go to your dentist for annual checkups and biannual cleanings, you might be wondering where x-rays fall into the routine. After all, it seems that some dentists want them sooner than others. What is the right amount of time to wait in between getting dental x-rays?
Why you need X-Rays
Before we look at how often you should be getting dental x-rays taken, let’s go over why you need the x-rays in the first place. Dental x-rays are a way to see what is going on beneath the surface of your teeth or in between your teeth. Not everything can be seen with the naked eye, even if you are the dentist.
X-rays can catch decay, infection, or structural concerns that might otherwise go missed until the problem has created symptoms. X-rays provide early detection, allowing you to have a problem fixed before it grows into a much bigger problem.
Common Frequency for X-Rays
Kerrisdale Dental dentists will ultimately decide how often they think that dental x-rays should be taken. There will be differences between dentists. That said, most often, patients will have x-rays taken each year. The annual x-rays are called bitewings and they are only four films that focus on the molars.
There are also full-mouth series of x-rays or a panoramic x-ray, depending on the dentist. These x-rays are usually only repeated once every 3 to 5 years and will capture every tooth in your entire mouth. These will not happen annually as it is not needed.
The other common x-ray is called a periapical x-ray. This x-ray can be done at any time or any frequency since they are normally used to diagnose a problem you already know about. If you go in for a toothache, for example, a periapical x-ray, also known as a PA, will take a picture of the whole tooth for diagnostic purposes.
Why Some Patients Need More
Now that we know why and how often x-rays are used, let’s take a look at why some need more than others. To begin with, some patients experience a higher decay rating than others. If a problem starts early, it will have the best outcome if treated early.
Some medications can also cause dry mouth, which reduces the amount of saliva you have in your mouth. With a dryer mouth, decay has a much easier time latching on than it would otherwise. X-rays will give you the benefit of catching something early, making it more treatable.
Types of X-Rays
Last, you should know about the types of x-rays. Traditional x-rays are done with a special camera and then developed like old style photographs. They don’t use much radiation, but your nurse will still cover you to protect you from it. Digital x-rays are the newer type and have made the traditional x-rays less common. You also will get to see the photograph instantly.
Regardless of how often you have them done, x-rays are still preventative measures that can help stop decay and tooth loss in their tracks.