Do You Really Need Dental X-rays?

It is pretty understandable why some people try to avoid getting dental x-rays. I know some people who claim they are just a scam and a way for dentists to make more money. Others may be worried about receiving too much radiation so they try to avoid getting them altogether.

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to dental x-rays. And a lot of people don’t even know why they need them in the first place.

So, we should probably start from the beginning.

Why Do You Need Them?

dentists observing x-ray.

Well, no one is really forcing you get get x-rays. But, most dentists would highly recommend them.

X-rays can actually be very useful in detecting things that you can’t see with the naked eye.

For instance, x-rays can check if you have a cavity forming in between your teeth.

And x-rays are pretty much the only way you can check for these types of cavities unless they spread pretty far.

And if these are detected early enough, you may not even need a filling!

That’s right, you can actually reverse the spread of a cavity without even putting a drill to your tooth. But this can only work if it is caught early.

For example, your dentist may prescribe you a toothpaste with extra fluoride, which can help restore the hole forming on your tooth. But, without an x-ray, your dentist may have never caught this.

So, you can see why x-rays are useful. They can even end up saving you money in the long run!

Dental x-rays can also check the bone level of your jaw.

Why would you want to get this checked?

Well, you may feel fine and everything may look good in your mouth, but there is still a chance that a gum disease is present.

And this can lead to bone loss in your jaw without you even realizing it.

There are many other uses of x-rays too, but you get the point.

How Often Should You Get Them?


Generally speaking, the more at risk for cavities you are, the more often you will need x-rays.

Usually, children who are at high risk will need x-rays the most and adults who are at low risk will need them the least often.

This can range range roughly from every 6 months to every 3 years depending on what your dentist suggests.

Who Is At Risk?

child at the dentist.

Your dentist determines your risk based on a variety of factors.

For example, this can include things like your diet, any previous work done in your mouth, if you have had any cavities in the past, how often you visit the dentist and more.

Most of the time, the best indicator is if you have had a cavity or not in the past.

So, if you are the type of person who takes great care of their teeth, eats healthy and never gets any cavities, chances are you are going to be at a lower risk and won’t need x-rays that often.

Are They Safe?


There is always some risk when you expose your body to any type of radiation.

Whether it be from talking on your cell phone, standing out in the sun or getting a dental x-ray, any exposure to radiation can lead to the development of cancer.

Luckily, the amount of radiation in dental x-rays is very minimal, so the chance of developing cancer from this alone is relatively low.

That being said, you never want to expose yourself if there is no real reason for it.

So, you should always talk with your dentist beforehand if you are concerned about the affects of dental x-rays.


Dental Secrets is providing this information for informational purposes only. Please consult a dentist or health advisor for questions. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete or up to date. What I write is my opinion and is not meant to be any sort of health or dental advice.


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