top of page

Dental X-Rays - What, Why & How?

So why are dental x-rays important and are they really necessary? This is a common question we hear on the phone so I hope that by the end of this article you have a better understanding of why we use them in dentist


What Are Dental X-Rays?

You may refer to them as x-rays, radiographs, or images of your teeth, but essentially we’re taking a picture which shows our dentists what’s going on underneath the surface of your tooth.

What's the purpose of dental x-rays?

Well, we can’t diagnose what we can’t see. What do we mean by that? Our dentists need the right tools to identify problems with your teeth. An x-ray is one of many tools used to get a complete understanding of your oral health.

More importantly, x-rays can help detect health problems in the earliest stages, like:

• Small areas of decay between teeth

• Problems with existing fillings, root canals, crowns or bridges

• The presence and severity of gum disease

• Abscesses or other sorts of infections

• Tooth development issues

• Cysts / Tumours

• Traumatic injuries e.g. tooth and bone fractures

• Proximity of teeth to nerves and sinuses

• The development of wisdom teeth and if there is a need for them to be removed

• The amount of bone needed for dental implants

How Are X-Rays Taken

Nowadays x-rays are digital which means they emit very very low dose radiation. At Natural Dentistry we make sure our patients receive the safest and most comfortable experience.

We’ll assess when you last had x-rays taken. How often you should have x-rays will depend on each individual’s oral health.

Generally, it is recommended that bitewings, which are check x-rays, be taken every couple of years, a full mouth x-ray every five years, and a single tooth x-ray only if there is a specific concern or problem area.

The most common x-ray we take is bitewing. It shows your upper and lower teeth together and checks specifically for what’s going on in-between the teeth. We can diagnose early signs of decay and develop a treatment plan accordingly to save you money in the future.

It only takes a split second for this image to be taken and appear on computer software.

Are X-Rays Safe?

Well did you know eating a banana is no different to having a couple of bitewing x-rays?

Also, having a full mouth x-ray is equivalent to a daily dose of natural radiation. And having a dental CT scan is almost the same as flying from NY to LA.

Yes, X-rays are a type of radiation but let’s remember we are constantly surrounded by radiation from natural and artificial sources. Natural background radiation comes from Space, the Sun, the Earth and internal radiation from food. Natural radiation accounts for up to 81% of the total radiation received by the population yearly.

Artificial radiation only accounts for 19% of total radiation and this comes from medical and dental examinations, the TV, microwaves, and our phones

So Natural Radiation which is something we can’t change is 4 times greater than artificial radiation. Dental x-rays represent about 3% of artificial radiation which is far from being significant.

So, in summary, yes they are necessary. They’re an important tool needed to diagnose what we can’t see. They’re also beneficial because they detect early signs of oral health disease developing which means you save money, in the long run, we’re able t take preventative action earlier.

If you are concerned about dental x-rays please contact the team at Natural Dentistry to chat more about your options. We strive to provide comfortable dental experiences for all our patients and we’re happy to accommodate for any needs you may have.

bottom of page