If there are no apparent oral health problems, you don’t have to get an x-ray just because it’s been a year since your last x-ray.
X-rays serve a purpose, and the first thing to understand is how x-rays help dentists. They can help a dentist detect the following:
- Gum disease
- Pockets below the gum line
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- A need for orthodontics to straighten teeth
Why a fixed yearly schedule for x-rays is not always the best idea
According to an article that quotes the American Dental Association (ADA) written in The New York Times , even though insurance covers bitewings x-rays, that doesn’t mean you need them.
If you have healthy teeth and gums, getting an x-ray isn’t necessary or recommended by the ADA. Why? Because every time you receive an x-ray, radiation accumulates in your body. Too much radiation makes people prone to getting cancer. To give you an idea, CT scans provide a dose of radiation that is equal to six regular dental x-rays.
In fact, the ADA says if your teeth and gums are healthy, you can go up to three years without x-rays. However, if you’re at high risk for cavities, then you should receive x-rays every 18 months.
Differences between adults’ and children’s teeth
Cavities take about two or more years to work their way through an adult’s tooth enamel. Cavities work faster on children’s teeth, and the ADA recommends that children who have their adult teeth and no trouble with cavities can go from 18 months to 3 years without x-rays. Children with baby teeth, who have no spacing problems and no cavities don’t need x-rays.
X-rays are tools that help dentists treat dental problems. If you have signs of cavities or receding gum lines or pockets that can lead to gum disease, by all means, get an x-ray.
Make an appointment with Dr. Baker
If you’re having problems with your teeth or gums, Dr. Baker at Hutto Hippo Family Dental is glad to help you. You don’t have to worry about unnecessary x-rays. He’s happy to answer your questions and explain procedures and will use the latest in dental technology to ensure you receive the best treatment.