Dental radiographs (X-rays) are essential, preventive, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. We use this information to accurately--and safely--detect hidden dental abnormalities and to complete an effective treatment plan. Without X-rays, problem areas may go undetected.

What dental X-rays may reveal

  • Abscesses or cysts
  • Bone loss
  • Cancerous and noncancerous tumors
  • Decay between the teeth
  • Developmental abnormalities
  • Poor tooth and root positions
  • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line

Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and--your teeth.

The safety of dental X-rays

We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full-mouth series of X-rays is equal to a person's exposure in a single day from natural sources. 

Although dental X-rays are therefore considered safe, dentists take all necessary precautions to limit the patient’s radiation exposure. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and modern, fast film to reduce exposure time.

When X-rays should be taken

The need for dental X-rays depends on each patient’s particular dental health needs. We will recommend X-rays after a review of your medical and dental histories, thorough dental exam, other signs and symptoms, age consideration, and your risk for disease.

A full-mouth series of dental X-rays, recommended for new patients, is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing X-rays (X-rays of the top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (checkup) visits--usually once or twice a year to detect dental problems that cannot be detected otherwise.

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