Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage will likely save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, your teeth and possibly your life.

Are digital dental x-rays safe?

We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment.  Digital x-rays produce a significantly lower level of radiation compared to traditional dental x-rays with films.  Not only are digital x-rays better for the health and safety of the patient, they are faster and more comfortable to take, which reduces your time in the dental office.  Also, since the digital image is captured electronically, there is no need to develop the dental x-rays, thus eliminating the disposal of harmful waste and chemicals into the environment.

Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation.  These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary, and using lead apron shields to protect the body.

How often should Oral x-rays be taken?

The need for oral x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs.  Your dentist and dental hygienist recommend necessary digital x-rays based upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease. We are always cautious and conservative when it comes to x-rays yet working without them is like working blindfolded. You don’t want a blindfolded dentist.

A full mouth series of oral x-rays is recommended for new patients.  A full series is usually good for three to five years.  Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) appointments generally every 6 months to a year.

Dental x-rays may reveal:
  • Bone loss or advanced gum disease.
  • Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
  • Decay between the teeth.
  • Fillings, crowns or root canal which are failing
  • Developmental abnormalities.
  • Poor tooth and root positions.
  • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
  • Abscesses or cysts.