Why Do Dentists Take Digital X-Rays?
Everyone who has visited a dentist has had a dental X-ray done at least once. An X-ray is an important part of evaluating dental health – not only of the teeth, but also of the underlying bone. X-rays are necessary because not all problems can be caught with visual inspections.
While an X-ray at the dentist is a traditional practice, digital imaging technology is overtaking older options. A digital dental X-ray offers a wide variety of benefits to patients and dentists. When compared to other X-ray options, digital equipment:
Is easy to use, meaning any mistakes or oversights are much less likely to occur;
Takes far clearer pictures, helping dentists notice symptoms very early on;
Is much faster than traditional X-rays, saving time for patients and dentists alike.
When digital X-rays are captured, they can be sent to a computer immediately. The images can be enlarged so they are easier to see without losing image quality. If they are too light or too dark, they can be fixed without repeating the x-ray. Plus, they are even environmentally friendly.
How Digital X-Rays Help Identify Problems Early
Are dental X-rays necessary? The answer is a resounding yes! Dental health problems are often subtle at first. X-rays give you the opportunity to seek proactive care for dental concerns before they can develop further. That saves money and discomfort by resolving health matters while they are manageable.
In particular, an X-ray image (also known as a radiograph) will help your dentist find:
Smaller sections of decay in hard to reach areas, such as below fillings;
Abscesses or cysts;
Bone loss related to gum disease;
Certain types of tumors;
Growth problems for younger patients;
The effects of accidents or traumatic injury;
The position of teeth that haven’t erupted fully from the gum line.
How often should you get dental X rays? X-rays should be performed at least once a year for adults of average health who see their dentists twice annually. If you are at higher risk of cavities or other oral health problems, your dentist will most likely want to take X-rays every 6 months. Sometimes we get caught in the mistaken trap of thinking that because an insurance benefit plan does not cover X-rays every 6 months, it means that it’s not needed.
The bottom line is that your dentist cannot do a proper and thorough exam without those X-rays. It is best to catch cavities and other oral health problems while they are in their infancy. If you decide to switch from one dentist to another, you can usually get your most recent radiographs forwarded to your new dental office. X-rays should be updated any time there is a facial injury, potential gum disease, or you are at risk of cavities. Your dentist can help you determine your risk level and how often X-rays are appropriate for you.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
Dental X-ray safety is a concern for many patients. X-rays have been performed for decades and are extremely safe and use only a tiny amount of radiation – a fraction of what is used when other types of X-rays are taken. Digital equipment uses the smallest amount of radiation of them all.