Why does my dentist need to take x-rays? Aren’t they harmful to me?
In dentistry, we have strived to reduce the amount of radiation needed for x-rays. We have increased film speed and many offices use digital x-rays (these reduce radiation exposure by 80%). Eighteen dental films (a full mouth) delivers 800 times less radiation then a chest x-ray and 40 times less than a day of background radiation (that’s you walking around outside). X-rays are a valuable diagnostic tool in dentistry. Not every problem can be found by looking and/or probing. X-rays can reveal hidden decay between teeth and under fillings, and uncover chronic abscesses, boney cysts, tumors and impacted teeth. They also help us monitor bone loss that occurs with periodontal disease. A “full mouth” (18 films) is done every 3-5 years by your dentist. Bite wings or “check-up” x-rays are done every 6-18 months. They help us help you maintain good dental health.