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Why do Dentists Take X-Rays?

X-rays are an important measure in making sure that your teeth are in good condition. An x-ray allows your dentist to inspect areas of your mouth that they cannot see during their check-up.


For example, an x-ray allows your dentist to inspect the root structure and the surrounding bone for signs of decay or any abnormalities. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why dentists take x-rays, how often they should be taken and how safe x-rays are.


Why Do Dentists Take X-Rays?

Often, the early stages of tooth decay do not show physical signs on the exterior and enamel of your teeth. The enamel on the surface of your teeth may appear healthy, but an x-ray may show some signs of decay under the enamel, infections in the root or bone loss around the tooth.


Dental x-rays allow your dentist to diagnose and treat any dental problems before they become serious. Although a dentist can check the outside of your teeth during a check-up, they cannot see the inside or between the teeth. An x-ray allows them to do this and means that they can view the roots of the teeth and the bones under your gums.

In addition, an x-ray can also allow your dentist to examine the extent of any decay or allow them to see any cysts, abscesses or masses. They can also allow a dentist to spot an impacted tooth, such as a wisdom tooth, or spot any bone loss that may have occurred.


For children, x-rays can also be used to show where the adult teeth are and when they may appear. For adults, they can also be used to indicate when wisdom teeth may come through.


How Often Should X-Rays be Taken?

Everyone’s oral health is different, which means that x-rays are taken at different intervals for different people. After inspecting your teeth, your dentist will set you up with an appropriate x-ray schedule.


If it is your first visit to your dentist, then it is likely that they will take a full set of x-rays to properly assess the state of your oral health. Once they have fully examined these images, they’ll be able to create a schedule around your dental check-ups, depending on the results of the x-rays.


If you continue to visit your dentist regularly and your dental health doesn’t deteriorate, then it’s likely that you will require fewer x-rays.


Are X-Rays Safe?

X-ray machines are designed to minimise the amount of radiation they emit. As a result, radiation only ever reaches negligible levels, meaning that the technology is completely safe.


However, if you’re pregnant or you’re lactating, then you should let your dentist know before any x-rays are taken, as extra steps may be taken to ensure your safety.

Your dentist may leave the room when your x-rays are taken. This is because they will take hundreds of x-rays each week and leaving the room minimises their repeated exposure to radiation. It is not an indicator that the procedure is dangerous, as exposure once every six months or so only provides a very minor risk.


X-rays are a very useful tool for your dentist to use as part of checking your oral health. If you would like more advice on x-rays or would like to book a check-up including an x-ray, then please call us on 07 3300 1277 or contact us.

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