Any medical procedure comes with risks and those risks can often allow us to justify not taking advantage of the medical technology available to us today. Dental X-rays are just as important as any other medical procedure and while risks are associated with them, they are minor and are outweighed by the benefits in a significant way. We will answer the most common questions here to help you understand just how important an X-Ray can be.
Why Do I Need an X-Ray?
Dental X-rays can detect a number of issues and give your dentist a better understanding of what type of advice he should give you in regards to treatment and prevention. While a loose tooth is obvious, other things like defects in restorations, bone loss, tumors, adult teeth coming in poorly and tooth decay are much clearer with an X-ray. This lets the dentist find things that may have otherwise been missed.
What Are The Risks?
In general, there is very little risk associated with a dental X-ray. The biggest concern is radiation exposure, which is often minimized by lead covers for parts of the body that are not being examined. With the infrequency of X-rays in dental procedures, there should be no worry about it at all.
Can I Visit the Dentist and Not Take an X-Ray?
In short, yes, but it is highly recommended, almost required, that you have an X-ray during your visit. Again, the only way a dentist can get a full picture of what is happening in your mouth is with an X-ray. Most of the time, the issues that they find (if any) are easier to treat when detected early. Again, the risk is all but non-existent, so you should get an X-ray each time to ensure you are getting the best care possible.
Does Every Patient Get an X-Ray Every Visit?
An X-ray will not be a part of every visit to your dentist. Each patient should have one when the dentist feels it is necessary. Your dentist may assess your overall oral health before deciding if an X-ray is required. The more you visit the less likely you are going to need to have an X-ray as the dentist will be able to help you stay ahead of potential issues. If you haven’t been to a dentist in a while, though, expect an X-ray to ensure that the dentist has a full picture of how healthy your mouth, teeth, and gums are at the time. This will also allow the dentist to identify any issues that may become problems later and address them early.