Are Dental X-Rays Necessary?

Female dentist with x-ray pictureIf you are about to see a new dentist for the first time, they will likely want to take a few x-rays. This added task at your appointment may be an inconvenience to you, but having current dental x-rays done is actually very important for moderating your dental and oral health.

Not all problems can be detected by simply looking inside the mouth. Dental x-rays offer a closer, detailed perspective. They can be used for:

• Finding tooth decay
• Finding damage to the jawbone
• Checking orthodontic conditions
• Looking at broken teeth
• Checking for growths, cysts, and abscesses
• Seeing if any permanent teeth are being prevented from erupting
• Planning treatment, such as root canal therapy, inserting dental implants, or tooth extraction

There are several types of x-rays, using different materials to take them. Bite wing x-rays show the upper and lower back teeth, and should be taken by adults every two to three years. A periapical x-ray shows an entire tooth, from below the bottom of the root to the crown. These are typically used to find dental issues below the gum line. Panoramic x-rays show the structure of the entire bottom half of the face, and can show problems such as bone abnormalities, impacted teeth, and infections.

Are Dental X-Rays Necessary?