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If you regularly visit your dentist, you will notice that you will get a dental x-ray every few visits. These x-rays are very important to helping your dentist find problems in the mouth such as tooth decay, and to see if there is any damage to your bones below the surface of your gums. You may have been wondering why x-rays are so important and useful to helping treat your oral health issues, and why you are exposed to them on a regular basis.

What is a dental x-ray?

Dental x-rays are taken in the dental office and read by your dentist. A dental technician will take 2D images that highlight bones and tooth anatomy in your mouth below the surface of your gums. Your dentist may have either of two types of x-rays, film or digital. Dental x-rays are either intraoral x-rays, which means x-rays are done on the inside of your mouth, or extraoral x-rays, which are x-rays done on the outside of your mouth, typically around the jaw bone. An intraoral x-ray will help your dentist identify any cavities, tooth development, root health, and whether the tooth is anchored properly to the jaw bone. The extraoral x-rays look at health issues such as impacted teeth, monitor jaw joint health and locate fractures or breaks.

How often should I have a dental x-ray?

X-rays are considered a diagnostic tool and are used when it is necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. If you are receiving routine dental care, and have no serious issues that need close monitoring and evaluation, a dentist will typically take a set of dental x-rays once every 24 to 36 months.  If you have oral health issues such as cavities, tooth root problems, gum disease, gingivitis or health issues related to your jaw, you will receive more frequent x-rays to help your dentist accurately diagnosis and treat them. Without dental x-rays problems that are not immediately visible may go undiagnosed and lead to worse health issues that are more difficult to treat.

It is important to talk to your dentist about any questions or concerns you may have with your treatment plan, including receiving dental x-rays.  Dr. Ted Melchers and his staff are here to help you decide the best course of treatment for you and your family.  We have been providing dental care to patients and their families throughout the lowcountry of South Carolina. Contact us today at info@oldmtpleasantdentistry.com.