Why It Is Done
Dental X-rays are done to:
- Find problems in the mouth such as tooth decay, damage to the bones supporting the teeth, and dental injuries (such as broken tooth roots). Dental X-rays are often done to find these problems early, before any symptoms are present.
- Find teeth that are not in the right place or do not break through the gum properly. Teeth that are too crowded to break through the gums are called impacted.
- Find cysts, solid growths (tumors), or abscesses.
- Check for the location of permanent teeth growing in the jaw in children who still have their primary (or baby) teeth.
- Plan treatment for large or extensive Reference cavities Opens New Window, Reference root canal Opens New Window surgery, placement of dental implants, and difficult tooth removals.
- Plan treatment of teeth that are not lined up straight (orthodontic treatment).
Without X-rays, dentists may miss the early stages of decay between teeth.
For people who have no tooth decay and are not at high risk of getting cavities:Reference 1
- Adults should have bitewing X-rays every 2 to 3 years.
- Teens should have bitewing X-rays every 1½ to 3 years.
- Children should have bitewing X-rays every 1 to 2 years.
For people who have tooth decay or are at high risk of getting cavities:Reference 1
- Adults should have bitewing X-rays every 6 months to 1½ years.
- Children and teens should have bitewing X-rays every 6 to 12 months.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 13, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry