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    Why Do I Need Dental X-rays Every Year?
    Mar 6, 2019

    dentists looking at an x-ray Dental Care Center

    Dental X-rays help dentists visualize diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissue that cannot be seen with a simple oral exam. In addition, X-rays help the dentist find and treat dental problems early in their development, which can potentially save you money, unnecessary discomfort, and maybe even your life.

    What Problems can Dental X-Rays Detect?

    In adults, dental X-rays can be used to:

    • Show areas of decay that may not be visible with an oral exam, especially small areas of decay between teeth
    • Identify decay occurring beneath an existing filling
    • Reveal bone loss that accompanies gum disease
    • Reveal changes in the bone or in the root canal resulting from infection
    • Assist in the preparation of tooth implants, braces, dentures, or other dental procedures
    • Reveal an abscess (an infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth)
    • Reveal other developmental abnormalities, such as cysts and some types of tumors

    In children, dental X-rays are used to:

    • Watch for decay
    • Determine if there is enough space in the mouth to fit all incoming teeth
    • Determine if primary teeth are being lost quickly enough to allow permanent teeth to come in properly
    • Check for the development of wisdom teeth and identify if the teeth are impacted (unable to emerge through the gums)

    How Often Should Teeth be X-rayed?

    The frequency of X-rays often depends on your medical and dental history and current condition. Some people may need X-rays as often as every six months; others with no recent dental or gum disease and who visit their dentist regularly may get X-rays only every year. If you are a new patient, your dentist may take X-rays as part of the initial exam and to establish a baseline record from which to compare changes that may occur over time