X-ray of the jaw showing teeth

Why do I need to have a dental x-ray?

It seems each time you go to the dentist an x-ray is taken. I hear patients ask all the time if these are absolutely necessary. To address these questions, I thought it a good idea to highlight what dental x-rays are used for, how safe they are and why they are necessary.

If you haven’t been to the dentist for over 12 months, or you are going to a new dentist for the first time an x-ray is essential. Dental radiographs (x-rays) are used to safely and accurately identify hidden dental abnormalities, which can then be diagnosed and treated. Without x-rays, preventable dental problems may go undetected.

What do dental x-rays show?

  • Problems below the gum line or inside a tooth
  • Abscesses or cysts
  • Abnormal tooth and root positions
  • Bone loss
  • Benign and malignant tumours
  • Decay between the teeth
  • Developmental abnormalities

Dental problems that are discovered at an early stage can be treated before they worsen, saving you time, money, unnecessary pain, and your teeth!

How Safe are Dental X-Rays?

Dental x-rays are considered safe due to the low level of radiation they produce. Our environment is filled with natural sources of radiation. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount of radiation a person is naturally exposed to in a single day. When taking x-rays, dentists are committed to limiting their patient’s exposure to radiation. Dental x-rays use modern, fast film that reduces the exposure time of each x-ray. Additionally, patients are given lead apron shields to shelter the body from radiation.

Do I need a dental x-ray every time I go to the dentist?

Each patient has unique dental health circumstances which dictate their need for dental x-rays. Your dentist and dental hygienist will consider factors such as your age, medical and dental history, signs and symptoms, risk of disease and the results of your dental exam.

During your first appointment, your dentist should arrange a full mouth series of dental x-rays.  Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays showing the top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken once or twice a year at visits and are necessary to identify new dental problems.

To book your next dental exam and x-ray contact us at Dr Finkelstein Dentist on (02) 9262 7778 or book an appointment online.


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