Why We Take Dental X-rays

A couple of years ago, we published a Blog about the benefits of digital X-ray vs. ‘the old fashioned way’ of taking X-rays.  In this Blog, we will discuss more about WHY we take X-rays.

Dental X-rays (radiographs) are images of your teeth that Dr. Still takes to evaluate your oral health. These X-rays are used with low levels of radiation to capture images of the interior of your teeth and gums. This can help him identify problems, like cavities, tooth decay, infections, abscesses, periodontal disease (bone loss) and impacted teeth. Dental X-rays may seem complex, but they’re actually very common tools that are just as important as your teeth cleanings.

Dental X-rays are typically performed yearly, or more often if Dr. Still is tracking the progress of a dental problem or treatment. If you’re a new patient to Smile Sarasota, we take a full series (18 digital images) so Dr. Still can get a clear picture of your dental health. This is especially important if you don’t have any X-rays from your previous dentist – if you do, we are glad to request and use them if they are of good quality and within the past two years. Typically, we take a full series every three years, and four checkup ‘bitewings’ once per year.

Patients will sometime say “I don’t need X-rays – nothing is bothering me”. Early tooth decay and periodontal disease do not tend to show many physical signs. Sometimes the tooth looks healthy, but we will be able to see from an x-ray whether you have any decay under the enamel or under a crown or old filling, any possible infections in the root, or any bone loss around the tooth. X-rays can also help our dental team to see in between your teeth or under the edge of your fillings. Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can help ward off painful conditions and save both time and money.

All health care providers are sensitive to patients’ concerns about radiation. By using state-of-the-art digital radiography technology and staying knowledgeable about recent advances, your dentist knows which techniques, procedures and x-ray films can minimize your exposure to radiation. The amount of radiation received from a dental x-ray is extremely small. We get more radiation from natural sources, including minerals in the soil, and from our general environment. With modern techniques and equipment, risks are kept as small as possible. Smile Sarasota has been using digital radiography for more than ten years.

Dental x-rays are an extremely valuable part of dental treatment and without them, Dr. Still would not be able to properly diagnose or treat dental disease. If you have any questions about dental X-rays, feel free to call us and anyone on our staff can assist!


Sources and Credits: ADA.org, Dentalhealth.org, webMD