You understand why your dental hygienist gives your teeth a professional cleaning twice a year. But you’re not quite sure why your dentist in Middleburg Heights sometimes takes x-rays at your checkup. Is it not enough to look at your mouth up close and personal? How often do dental x-rays need to be taken? Are they even safe? Keep reading below to learn the answers to these questions.
Dental X-Rays Can Find Problems Beneath the Surface
Dentists go through years of extensive training to be able to spot early warning signs of oral health problems. However, many of these issues can’t be seen by the naked eye. That’s where x-rays come in.
X-rays allow your dentist to examine otherwise hidden areas, such as between and inside your teeth, your teeth’s roots, and your jawbone. Common dental problems that are usually picked up by x-rays include cysts, impacted wisdom teeth, and jawbone loss due to gum disease. Detecting these issues early on can make them much easier (and less pricey) to treat.
How Often Do You Need to Get X-Rays Taken?
It depends. Your dentist can examine your oral and overall health to determine how often you’ll need x-rays. If you’re a new patient, they’ll most likely take a full series of x-rays to use a baseline moving forward. Unless you have chronic oral health issues or you’re experiencing a specific problem, most existing patients only need to get x-rays taken once every year or two.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
Modern dental x-rays are designed to minimize the potential exposure to radiation. In fact, many offices these days have switched to digital x-rays, which reduce your exposure even further. Still, your dentist will probably place a leaded apron on you to cover your abdominal area and a leaded collar to protect your thyroid. The one exception to the rule is pregnancy. Patients who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant should avoid x-rays, as radiation is considered unsafe for a developing fetus.
Just like brushing and flossing, dental x-rays are a routine part of your oral care. Don’t be intimidated if your dentist asks to take them. They’re essential to making sure your smile stays healthy for life!
About the Author
Dr. Jon Kirlough is a dentist in Middleburg Heights, OH who graduated from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry in 2000. Since opening his private practice after serving as a dental officer in the Navy, he has accumulated more than 500 hours of continuing education courses to help him stay current with the latest techniques in dentistry. At Kirlough Family Dentistry, he uses digital x-rays to keep his patients as safe as possible. To learn more about dental x-rays and how they can benefit your oral health, you can visit Dr. Kirlough’s website or call his office at 440-234-2445.