Often our dental patients will ask, “Why do I need x-rays when all I want is a cleaning?”
The reason for this is, before any patient has a cleaning, we must first make a diagnosis of their overall gum health. X-rays can reveal any dental issues that we can’t identify with the human eye. This may seem like an additional, unwanted expense from the dental patient but Michigan law actually requires that we have an x-ray and make a diagnosis before performing any type of treatment on your teeth.
Just like many other health problems, gum disease may not necessarily cause pain or any other symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose without an x-ray. If gum disease is diagnosed early enough, it is treatable and the bone structure of your teeth will not be affected. However, advanced stages of gum disease may even require the removal of teeth. Without these x-rays, gum disease cannot be diagnosed and the health of your teeth and gums are at risk.
What are Digital X-Rays?
The latest method used to take dental x-rays is the digital x-ray. Instead of x-ray film, a sensor is used to capture and download the image on a computer. Dentists and hygienists can then immediately review the image and diagnose any problems with the teeth and gums.
Digital x-rays may reveal the following dental issues:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Loss of bone
- Certain cancers
- Tooth decay
- Developmental problems
- Improper tooth and root positioning
- Any problems inside a tooth or below the gums
One major advantage of digital x-rays is that they will produce significantly less radiation than traditional dental x-rays. Digital x-rays are also faster and more comfortable for the dental patient. Also, since the image is captured electronically and downloaded to a computer, the x-rays no longer have to be developed, which eliminates any disposal of waste and chemicals into the environment.
How Often Do I Need a Digital X-Ray?
This will of course depend on the dental patient’s medical and dental history, family history, current symptoms, age, and risk for disease.
For example, a patient with a history of excessive tooth decay or gum disease, may be required to take x-rays more often than someone who has good oral health. Also, children may need dental x-rays more often since their bone structure is still developing.
Generally speaking, a full mouth series of dental x-rays is required for all new dental patients. After that, dental patients should not need full service x-rays for another 3-5 years. Bite-wing x-rays should be taken at each checkup and they are recommended every 6-12 months.
I’m Looking for a Metro Detroit Dentist that Provides Digital X-Rays
Are you searching for a Metro Detroit dentist to call home? HPS Advanced Dental Care is provides digital x-rays and oral cancer screenings to ensure your teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be. Contact our dental office today to make an appointment.