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Why Do You Need Dental X-Rays?

Every so often at one of your regularly scheduled dental, you’ll be asked to open wide for tools other than the normal hygiene ones. A dental X-ray is a routine part of your exam, not a reason to panic.  They may seem mysterious, but really they are pretty straight-forward. Most of all, dental X-rays are an essential piece of your preventive dental care.

What Kinds of Dental X-Rays are There?

There’s more than one way to take a picture of your teeth and jaw bone. Some methods may be best for a specific purpose or diagnosis, such as a panoramic X-ray that takes a 360 degree scan around your head for wisdom teeth or dental implants. Another specific method is the periapical X-ray that takes an image of two teeth from the tip all the way down to the root.

The more routine types of X-rays are bitewing, which gives your dentist an idea about the cavities between your teeth; occlusal, to see how your teeth line up; and palatal, which can take a picture of all your teeth at once.

How Often Will I Need a Dental X-Ray?

Typically, adults will need a dental X-ray once a year during their scheduled check-ups. You might need additional X-rays if you’re having specific dental problems, such as persistent pain, or to make a diagnosis on an overbite. Children with developing dental concerns might need them even more regularly, to ensure that they’re permanent teeth come in correctly. As always, check with your dentist if you have questions about your particular case.

Who Should Get an X-Ray?

X-rays are low risk for most children and adults. The only people who need to consistently avoid them are pregnant women, or women who could be pregnant. If you have questions or concerns about X-rays, ask your dentist or your dental hygienist, who will happily lead you through the process, step-by-step until you’re comfortable.