Dental X-rays are images that allow dentists to see hidden areas in your mouth not normally visible to the naked eye. For example, with an X-ray we can see inside a tooth or beneath your gum line. Dentists depend on X-rays to make sure your teeth, gums, and jawbones are healthy. These images are an important tool for keeping tabs on your dental health over time and watching out for any possible problems.
Who Needs Dental X-Rays?
Everyone should get dental X-rays periodically, approximately once every year or so. Some people need to take X-rays more often, and some can go years without needing an X-ray. For instance, when a child’s teeth are still developing they might need more X-rays than adults in order to make sure their teeth are growing in properly. Only your dentist can tell you how often you should get X-rays. It will depend on your health, your age, and any dental problems you have to keep an eye on.
Dental X-rays contain very low levels of radiation and are deemed safe for occasional use. Your dentist will most likely give you a lead vest and special sunglasses to protect your body and eyes during the image-taking process. Some dentists even provide a neck guard. At Signature Smiles Dental, we do everything possible to make sure to limit your exposure.
If You’re a New Patient
If you’re seeing a dentist for the first time, they might ask you to take a set of X-rays, even if you’ve had them recently with another practice. These X-rays help the dentist get a clear picture of your oral health and set a baseline to compare to later on. Your dentist will be able to see what cavities you’ve had filled, how healthy your gums are, and how your jaw is aligned. You may also consider asking your past dentist to send your latest X-rays to your new dentist to have on file.