Taking a dental X-ray can potentially prevent a lot of diseases and sometimes, even save lives. But, how often should one go through a dental X-ray?
Dental X-rays are useful for dentists to diagnose tooth and gum diseases. It is a simple oral exam that helps dentists find dental problems early in their development stage and this can potentially save people a lot of money and discomfort.
What can dental X-rays detect?
In adults, dental X-rays can be used for different purposes, such as:-
- to show different areas of decay that may not be easily visible in an oral exam
- to reveal bone loss that usually comes along with gum diseases
- to identify decay that may be occurring below an existing filling
- to assist in the preparation of braces, tooth implants, dentures and other dental procedures
- to reveal an infection at the root of a tooth or between gums
- to reveal developmental abnormalities, such as tumours.
How often should you get your teeth X-rayed?
The frequency of dental X-rays depends not only on your current physical health but also on your medical and dental history. While some people may need X-rays as often as once in every 6 months, others who have no history of dental problems and who visit their dentist frequently may need an X-ray only once every couple of years. If you are a new patient at a dentist’s clinic, you might need an X-ray for him/her to establish that your dental health is pristine. Also, the first X-ray with a new dentist will help him/her with a baseline record from which he/she can compared future changes.
Here is a quick guide through who really needs frequent X-rays.
- Children and teens with a history of many cavities may need X-rays once every 6 months or one year, depending on their age. People who have a high risk of decay for multiple reasons may also need to take frequent X-rays
- People with gum or periodontal diseases should get dental X-rays often because that can help their dentist to reveal signs of bone loss. If the doctor has indeed established bone loss because of gum disease, the patient may need periodontal surgery
- Adults with several crowns, fillings and other restorations need frequent X-rays for their dentist to find if there is any decay beneath the fillings or even in new places
- Smokers have an increased risk of periodontal disease and bone loss around their teeth
- People who chew tobacco are at an increased risk of bone loss around the disease as well as periodontal disease
- People with dry mouth tend to have dental issues more often because they lack saliva, which helps teeth and mouth to stay healthy by regulating the level of acid inside the mouth. A dry mouth is characteristic of low pH, which causes minerals inside teeth to break down, causing more cavities
Therefore, whether you need an X-ray really depends on your health and history of diseases. Do not be duped into getting an X-ray for absolutely no classic reason.
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