When you see the dentist, he or she may want to take x-rays of your teeth and jaws. You might wonder whether this is really necessary. After all, taking x-rays means that you are exposed to radiation. Is it really so important for the dentist to be able to see beneath your skin?
In fact, having regular dental x-rays taken is a critical part of maintaining good dental health. When a dentist examines your teeth, he can only see the surface of them. He cannot look inside them or look underneath your gums. A surface examination is important, but it can only miss serious problems that may be developing.
By taking x-rays of your mouth, your dentist is able to see the interior structure of your teeth and look underneath your soft tissues. This is often the only way to spot a developing issue before it becomes serious. In many cases, by relying on x-rays, your dentist can treat a problem before it actually causes you any discomfort. And with many practices utilizing digital x-ray equipment, the dentist can immediately see what is going on with your teeth.
Many dentists recommend that patients have X-rays taken once a year. However, other organizations suggest that less-frequent X-rays are a good idea. This is intended to minimize exposure to radiation to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. Be sure to discuss this issue with your dentist if you have any concerns.
In many situations, X-rays are required to properly diagnose a problem. For example, a dentist will need to look at these images to determine whether or not a root canal is necessary. Without this information, he will not be able to make an accurate diagnosis.
The use of X-ray images in dentistry is a well-established and important practice. By having them taken regularly, you can ensure that your dentist has all the information he needs to keep your teeth healthy.