Dental x-rays are common when you attend a dental appointment. After discussing your problems with your dentist, they may deem it necessary to carry one out – or if they find something that requires extra examination.
But many people question whether you should get frequent or more regular dental x-rays. Are they beneficial to your dental health? Should you have them with your usual dental appointment?
We’re going to answer these questions and more with this handy guide below. If you wish to know more, read below!
How Often Should I Be X-Rayed?
This answer has many variables to it. A man in his mid-40s and has never had a filling, with no obvious dental problems, will not require a dental x-ray.
Whereas a pre-teen child with lots of cavities will likely have regular dental x-rays.
The most likely reason for such a requirement is due to a good dental hygiene routine. A mature man is much more likely to keep with a good dental hygiene routine, whereas a child is likely to rush and not brush their teeth properly.
So, those at risk of cavities are more likely to require a dental x-ray. Therefore, it’s best that we examine who is most at risk of dental cavities.
Note: There may be a limit to the number of x-rays you can have in a 12-month period, including dental x-rays. Always inform your dentist of previous x-rays.
Cavities: High-Risk Groups
To know who is at risk for cavities, you’ll have to answer a few simple questions before heading to the dentist:
- Have you ever had a cavity?
- Have you recently had a cavity?
- How many cavities have you had?
- Do you keep up with a good dental hygiene routine?
- Is your diet heavy with sugar?
People who consume a lot of sugar in their diet, including candy and soda drinks, are at high risk of developing cavities in their teeth.
However, the likelihood of these cavities is increased if they do not follow good oral hygiene practices.
This does not mean to say that even with a healthy diet, you are not at risk of developing cavities.
There are numerous other factors which can lead to cavities, and not only this – even healthy diets can include natural sugars – which are also harmful to teeth.
A Guide To Regular Dental X-Rays
Of course, you’ll want to be sure that you’re getting regular dental check-ups, but you may not be sure about how regular your dental x-rays should be.
Here’s a rough guide for you:
The frequency of your x-rays will depend on your cavity and filling history.
If you’ve had many fillings or cavities in the past, or maybe you consume a diet very heavy in sugar, your dentist may recommend x-rays every 6-18 months.
However, if you don’t eat a lot of sugar and you keep up with good oral hygiene, with a limited history of cavities etc., then your dentist may recommend x-rays every 24-36 months.
There is no real answer; it’s more to do with the risk level you’re in.
Much in the same way, you should attend a doctor’s appointment more regularly if you’re in a high-risk category for a condition. The same applies to your dentist (and x-rays).
You should try to limit the amount of radiation your child receives, but it may be necessary depending on their diet.
If they have had fillings before and lots of cavities, they will likely be advised to have x-rays every 6-12 months.
If your child is under 12 and has never had a cavity or filling, then your dentist may recommend that you hold off on x-rays for about 1-2 years in terms of regularity.
However, when they develop into their teenage years, they may need to decrease that regularity even further to 18-36 months.
If you’re worried about gaps in your child’s teeth, you can rest easy knowing that dentists have plenty of ways to inspect for your child’s teeth without the need for x-rays.
Speaking of worries, dentists have a type of equipment that reduces the level of excess radiation – meaning the amount of radiation your child is exposed to is very minimal.
However, you should still be aware of it and mention it to a doctor/dentist for future x-rays.
Why Else Would You Need A Dental X-Ray?
There are lots of different benefits to having a dental x-ray, but of course, your dentist will be the one to make that call and deem it necessary (although you will ultimately either agree or disagree with their recommendation).
Bitewing radiography (or dental x-rays that show the top and bottom of your teeth) is an ideal way to check for cavities and other issues, including cracked, broken or missing teeth.
Here’s what other conditions dental x-rays can look for, along with what else they can be used for:
- Gum Disease: X-rays can detect if you are losing bone because of gum disease and can help a dentist decide on future treatment plans.
- Dental Implants: In order to have a dental implant, you need to have a good amount of jawbone so it will be secured. An x-ray can examine this.
- Orthodontics: Getting a dental x-ray can be an ideal way to check how your teeth bite together and assess if further treatment is needed.
The Bottom Line
The frequency of getting a dental x-ray will largely depend on how well you look after your teeth and general oral hygiene.
The best and most surefire way to know is by speaking with your dentist upon your next dental checkup. They will be able to advise you on your next steps.
We hope this guide has helped you!
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