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Do I Really Need Dental X-rays?

Many people often question the necessity of dental x-rays and mistakenly they are sometimes seen as more of a money-spinner than a health necessity. But you may surprised to learn that Dental X-rays can prove to be the difference between whether you retain your teeth for life or end up having teeth extracted. Early tooth decay is usually symptomless but if left untreated it can lead to major dental treatment being required. Dental x-rays are a simple way to avoid unnecessary dental problems.

Dental x-rays are recommended to be carried out once every 2 years. You will always have two x-rays taken at a time – one for each side of your mouth. Dental x-rays enable your dental professional to assess the health of your teeth in an in-depth way that is simply not possible with the naked-eye alone. It is more often the unseen issues that can cause the biggest health problems if left untreated. Xrays are simple, painless and will eventually save you time and money by detecting problems early.

Dental x-rays help with the following:

  • Detecting areas of decay that may not be visible in the mouth, especially between the teeth
  • Detecting problems with existing fillings, crowns, bridges or root canals that may lay under the surface of the restoration – these may even be the underlying cause of a severe toothache which would otherwise be incurable without the use of x-rays
  • Detecting the presence and severity of gum disease and bone-loss
  • Assisting in the planning and preparation of implants, Invisalign, dentures, root canals, restorations and extractions.
  • Identifying abscesses or other infections
  • Assessing tooth development & spacing
  • Identifying extra or missing teeth, malformed teeth, displaced teeth, malpositioned or impacted teeth
  • Identifying cysts and some types of tumours
  • Assessing traumatic injuries such as tooth or bone fractures and the presence of foreign objects
  • Identifying the proximity of teeth to important structures such as nerves and sinuses – essential for the practice of safe tooth extraction
  • Checking the development of wisdom teeth and whether they need to be removed

What if you have already had x-rays taken recently before coming to visit Dental Excellence?

You can ask for a form to be emailed to you that requests your previous x-rays to be sent through to your dental professional prior to your initial examination appointment.  There is absolutely no need to have further x-rays if you have had them done elsewhere within the past two years.

Are x-rays dangerous?

Dental x-rays involve extremely low radiation exposure – roughly the same amount of radiation exposure as that from a short aeroplane flight (1-2 hrs). Rest assured that x-rays will never be taken unless absolutely necessary in the course of your dental care.

If the exposure is minimal why do my dentist and nurse leave the room when the x-ray is taken?

This is simply to avoid over-exposure for your health-care professional. You may only have x-rays once every two years but your dental professional is treating a number of patients so leaving the room ensures that they can treat multiple patients without over-exposure to radiation.

Hopefully this article has reassured you as to why you may have been recommended to have dental x-rays taken. If you are still concerned, why not give us a call on 08 9443 8333. 

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