A frequently asked question at our office is, “How often should I get dental x-rays taken?”
As a general rule of thumb, you should get a set of bite-wings taken once a year, and a full mouth series once every 3 years. Of course, if you are experiencing pain (other problems/concerns/suspicion) in between x rays, additional ones may need to be taken to diagnose what is going on.
How Much Radiation is in a Dental X-Ray?
Modern, digital x-rays are extremely low in radiation. To Illustrate this point, here is an infographic to compare the radiation from dental x-rays to the radiation we are exposed to everyday:
Factors That Determine How Often You Should Have Dental X-Rays
Existing Restorations and Previous Decay:The number one factor for determining how often you need dental x-rays taken is the amount of fillings or restorations you already have in your mouth. If you have multiple fillings or other dental restorations, you need to have x-rays taken more often. It is important not only to monitor the state of the fillings and restorations you have, but also to keep an eye on the surrounding teeth because you are more prone to decay.
Age: Certain ages are more prone to specific complications, and therefore need to have x-rays taken more frequently to check for decay or other possible complications.
Overall Oral Health: People that have shown that they are at a higher risk of getting cavities or gum disease need to have dental x-rays taken more often, to catch signs of these at the earliest stages possible. On the contrary, patients that have shown that they are not cavity-prone can go longer in between x-rays.
Previous Operations and Procedures: Patients that have had serious oral surgeries or restorations need to keep a closer eye on what is going on with their oral health than others. X-rays not only detect cavities but also can detect other complications like bone degeneration that could be from previous extractions or other things.
Medications: Some medications can cause dry mouth, and make you more susceptible to decay. Other medications can cause other complications to oral health, such as weaker bone. People taking medications that affect their oral health need to have x rays taken more often.
About THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental reconstruction and TMJ/Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.