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The Truth about Dental X-Rays: How Often is Enough?

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Radiographs or dental x-rays are the bread and butter in any dental care or treatment plan. Despite the training of your family dentist, looking at your teeth won’t always be enough to determine what issues lie within your mouth and jaw. With the help of thorough scanning, your dentist gets a clear visualization of your teeth and jaws’ bone structure.

Accurate imaging of your oral cavity is necessary to observe your teeth from the enamel to the root carefully. If you have any cavities developing or teeth that haven’t erupted, x-rays provide a comprehensive view of their status. This will let the dentist monitor and know what appropriate measures are needed to take care of your smile.

But the questions that concern most people is: “How often should I have a dental x-ray? How often is enough?”

What happens during an X-ray procedure?

Dental x-rays usually take a few moments and are virtually painless. They’re typically performed in the office by your dentist or licensed dental specialist. You will be covered with a lead apron to shield your body from radiation. The specialist will take an x-ray picture of a specific area or a full mouth or panoramic scan.

Depending on each case, multiple pictures may be taken until your dentists get all the views and angles of your mouth needed for diagnosis.

Who needs a dental X-ray procedure?

To put it simply, everyone needs to have their teeth checked through radiography. But for the sake of being specific, here’s a summary on who needs a dental x-ray procedure and how often should they see their dentist for one:

  • Children and Adolescents – For youngsters, some or all of their baby teeth might still be intact. Close observation is needed to keep their developing permanent teeth in check. But for kids and teens alike, especially those with a history of cavities, dental x-rays must be done every 6 to 12 months. Those without risk of decay can be done every 12 – 24 months.
  • Adults with restored teeth If you ever had any procedures such as crowns, implants, fillings, and bridges, dental x-rays are recommended every 12 – 18 months. By doing so, you can monitor underlying decay and cavity build-up in your teeth. Healthy adults can go every 2 – 3 years.
  • Patients with Gum DiseaseIn severe cases, periodontal illnesses can cause bone loss. Dental x-rays are important to determine which part of your teeth are riddled with decay before performing gum surgery.
  • People with dry mouth – Xerostomia, dry mouth, is a condition where your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. In turn, your mouth’s pH level decreases because of the dryness. Eventually, the minerals present in your teeth disintegrate, resulting in cavities and bone loss. For high-risk patients, it’s best to get dental x-rays every 12 to 18 months.
  • Tobacco users If you’re an avid smoker, it’s best if you book appointments every 6 – 12 months with your dentist for check-ups. Smoking and tobacco chewers cause bone loss and cavities, respectively.


Getting dental x-rays is a must for all age groups. When doing so, you eliminate the risk of tooth and gum diseases sneaking past your impeccable dental hygiene. Having the best dental care is not possible without radiographs. Through this diagnostic tool, your dentist can accurately see any abnormalities, cavity formations, and growth issues that may haunt you in the future.

What happens inside your teeth is entirely invisible to the naked eye. Dental x-rays unravel the mysteries of your teeth to help your dentist make informed decisions. Now, when’s your next dental appointment?

Rest assured that at West Olds Dental, we only use digital X-rays which produce the lowest possible dose of radiation


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