Dental x-rays help to see parts of teeth not otherwise visible.
Dental x-rays are pictures of the teeth, bones and soft tissues in the mouth. They are used to help find problems that would otherwise not be visible, for example cavities between teeth, unerupted wisdom teeth and bone loss. Without x-rays the early stages of decay present between teeth may be missed.
It is advised that for people who have no tooth decay and are not at high risk of cavities:
- Adults should have bitewings every 2 to 3 years
- Teenagers should have bitewings every 1 ½ to 3 years
- Children should have bitewings ever 1 to 2 years
If you have active tooth decay and are at high risk of cavities:
- Adults should have bitewings every 6 months to 1 ½ years
- Teenagers and children should have bitewings every 6 to 12 months
Of course these are only guidelines and your dentist will be able to advise on how often you will need x-rays. The dentist will never take x-rays unless they are clinically necessary. X-rays only take a few minutes and are not painful.
The amount of radiation used in dental x-rays is very low, so the benefits vastly outweigh any potential risks. However, if you are concerned, do not hesitate to speak to your dentist when you attend for your appointment.