Dental X-rays

Why should we take dental X-rays?

There are areas in the mouth that your dentist cannot see directly. Area between teeth, under the gums and the roots of teeth can only be visually examined with X-rays. Dental X-rays are also taken prior to orthodontic treatment to assess the relationship between the teeth and jaws and the rest of the face. Specific procedures like root canal therapy, implant surgery and wisdom teeth removal also need X-rays to be taken.

Why would we need these areas examined?

These hidden areas are also common areas for decay to occur. If decay is caught early enough, preventive measures like fluoride therapy or very small fillings can be done.

How often should X-rays be taken?

Usually about once in 2 years.

How often dental X-rays are taken depends on the patient's individual health needs. It is important to recognize that just as each patient is different from the next, so should the scheduling of X-ray exams be individualized for each patient.

Your dentist will review your history, examine your mouth and then decide whether you need radiographs and what type. If you are a new patient, the dentist may recommend radiographs to determine the present status of the hidden areas of your mouth and to help analyze changes that may occur later. Children may need X-rays more often than adults. This is because their teeth and jaws are still developing and because their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay than those of adults.

How do dental X-rays work?

When X-rays pass through your mouth during a dental exam, more X-rays are absorbed by the hard tissues (such as teeth and bone) than by soft tissues (such as cheeks and gums) before striking the film. This creates an image on the radiograph. Teeth appear lighter because fewer X-rays penetrate to reach the film. Cavities and gum disease appear darker because of more X-ray penetration. The interpretation of these X-rays allows the dentist to safely and accurately detect hidden abnormalities.

Are dental X-rays harmful?

Radiation is only harmful when it exceeds a certain level. Even standing in the sun exposes us to radiation. The radiation from dental x-rays is well below the danger level and even taking multiple x-rays for different parts of the mouth is a safe procedure. Newer digital X-ray machines reduce this already low risk by more than 75%. Pristine Dental Centre uses digital X-rays, hence the lower radiation doses for our patients.