If you have ever been to the dentist and needed to get x-rays, you might be wondering why the experience is so necessary. Even though the process of getting x-rays performed is rarely uncomfortable, it’s not uncommon to assume that your dentist should be able to easily see inside your mouth or predict many things about your teeth with other uses of technology. However, dental x-rays are still as important today as they were when they were first used to diagnose dental problems in children, teens, and adults.
Dental x-rays allow your dentist to detect problems before they start causing serious issues or pain. They allow a dentist to see whether children or teens need braces for orthodontic work, if wisdom teeth are beginning to crowd the other teeth, or if there are any early signs of gum disease. Since x-rays give a detailed view of the teeth’s roots and positions below the gums, they are a vital tool when it comes to having a healthy mouth.
Some adults wonder why they are still getting regular dental x-rays even when they are far past the age of braces or emerging wisdom teeth. Dental x-rays can tell your dentist about any aging in your mouth, alert your dentist to periodontal disease, and even serve as a warning that dentures may be needed down the road. Dental x-rays are also an important tool for patients with heart problems, who smoke, or who consume large amounts of sugar on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, making dental issues more likely.
One of the biggest concerns that patients have with dental x-rays is the exposure to radioactive waves. The technology behind dental x-rays has improved, and allows patients to be exposed to only minor amounts of radiation compared to the past. There are special precautions that dentists take to minimize these risks as much as possible. However, individuals who are pregnant or have weakened immune systems should make their doctor aware prior to dental x-rays.
If your doctor has suggested that you have dental x-rays, but you are unsure whether or not they are necessary, remember that the benefits far outweigh any risks in most cases. Your dentist will only suggest x-rays in order to help prevent dental problems that could cause serious issues with your mouth, gums, and teeth down the road.