A general dentist might recommend that patients get x-rays during a dental appointment. X-rays serve many purposes in dentistry, from providing a closer look at the health of the oral cavity to checking a child’s bite alignment. Although certain factors necessitate the need for dental x-rays, there is a basic guideline used by general dentists when they request them for routine dental care. This guideline determines how often x-rays are required during a dental checkup.
The frequency of dental x-rays as recommended by a general dentist
Due to concerns about radiation exposure, patients often want to know whether they will need x-ray scans and how frequently. The information is helpful, particularly for those who are unsure of what to expect during the process. The answer to the question depends on the age of the patient and their oral health condition.
Typically, a general dentist will recommend undergoing an x-ray scan once a year. Most patients, whether adults or children, will require at least two routine dental checkups annually. Usually, the appointments are spread out so that it happens every six months. During one of the checkups, the dentist may request x-rays to check the overall condition of the teeth, jaw, and bones.
The x-ray is done once a year to ensure there is no case of bone loss, jaw misalignment, or movement in the teeth. Often, it may be difficult to see the abnormalities through a routine visual examination. X-rays reveal the interior of the bone and structures around the teeth to the general dentist, which is usually not visible to the naked eye. Without the yearly x-rays, some of the anomalies will be missed, which could potentially cause irreversible damage to the oral cavity.
Other factors to consider
While a general dentist recommends a routine x-ray once a year, other factors may necessitate getting an x-ray. For instance, some oral health conditions or situations can cause concerns that may require a more in-depth view. Below are some situations where a general dentist may recommend x-rays:
- Teeth straightening treatment usually requires an x-ray to observe the position of the jaw and teeth
- For a severe case of gum disease that may result in bone loss, an x-ray can reveal the extent of the bone loss
- A dislodged tooth may have compromised its socket and root system, in which case an x-ray will show the level of damage
- Wisdom tooth impaction requires an x-ray to see the position of the teeth
- Oral cancer screenings may need x-rays so that the dentist can observe the situation under the teeth
- A case of severe oral decay may need an x-ray to assess the damage and extent of decay
Ready to schedule an appointment with a general dentist?
X-rays play a crucial role in preventive care treatments and maintaining good oral health. A general dentist will usually only recommend one x-ray scan per year. Still, it is advisable to consult them to know whether there is any situation that may require otherwise. Book an appointment with our office today to learn more.
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