When visiting a dentist for a regular check-up, it’s common for the dentist to take x-rays. Some patients wonder why dentists take x-rays so often. After all, doctors don’t take x-rays as a preventative measure. So what’s the reasoning behind these frequent dental x-rays?
Detecting Cavities and Abnormalities
X-rays can reveal cavities and abnormalities in places in the mouth that aren’t visible to the dentist during a standard examination. Dentists may spot abscesses, tumors, and cysts that form between the teeth or below the gum line before these abnormalities become serious problems. Dentists may also identify cavities in early stages, allowing for fast treatment.
Tracking Tooth Development
Taking x-rays during dental check-ups with children and teenagers allows dentists to track tooth and jaw development. Since children’s’ mouths can change quickly through development stages, this allows dentists to identify potential problems with alignment and many other complications. Early identification allows dentists to take precautionary measures that reduce the need for invasive and costly procedures later on.
Spotting Issues with Restorations
Patients that have had restorations such as crowns, bridges, and even fillings placed may benefit from frequent dental x-rays. Restorations can hide cavities and mask decay. X-rays can help dentists to see below the restorations, allowing for treatment of issues that may have otherwise been difficult to detect.
Discovering Bone Loss
Patients that have periodontal disease may experience bone loss that can result in lost teeth and an altered appearance of the face. Dental x-rays can help dentists to see bone deterioration in early stages and to identify the degree of bone loss. Dentists often recommend that patients with periodontal disease receive x-rays more often than patients that don’t have the condition, generally every six months as opposed to annually.
Assisting with Treatment Planning
If it’s determined that a patient could benefit from implants, dentures, braces, or other restorative devices or procedures, x-rays may be instrumental in the planning process. Dentists can use the x-rays to figure out exactly what needs to be done for a particular patient. This may help to achieve better outcomes and simpler treatment plans.
Some patients have concerns with using x-rays as a preventative or diagnostic tool. While radiation exposure is a common basis for these concerns, advancements in technology and the introduction of digital x-rays have greatly decreased the amount of radiation that patients are actually exposed to. The costs of x-rays are often covered by insurance, so cost concerns may also be mitigated.
X-rays can help dentists to best treat patients, so speaking to an Orlando dentist about concerns, rather than simply refusing x-rays, may help with achieving the best dental care possible. If you feel that you could benefit from visiting a dentist, call 407-898-3471 today.