When it comes to dental X-rays, some patients don’t quite understand their importance.

X-rays are an incredibly important part of your oral health for one major reason: they enable your dentist to view structures that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to see. If problems exist in soft tissue within your mouth or inside the bone in your jaw, dental x-rays provide your dentist with the information needed to ensure the underlying problem doesn’t spiral out of control. With good X-rays, your family dentist can save you time, discomfort, and a lot of money by recognizing the need for interventions like root canal treatment, root scaling, and more.

Why X-Rays are an essential component of your oral health

While X-rays are undeniably important, many patients continue to refuse them. For some patients, this isn’t an entirely bad thing – because there’s nothing inherently wrong with their teeth. But they wouldn’t know this if they didn’t have an occasional X-ray to tell them so. The only other alternative is to wait until something bad happens. Unfortunately, when that’s the case – the “fix” is usually more painful and more expensive than the preventative care an X-ray would have helped identify a need for.

Did you know that only about one third of your tooth is actually visible to the naked eye? For this reason alone, X-rays provide a much fuller picture of your oral health. Consider this example: Would you dig a hole without knowing what’s beneath the surface? Would you dive into a pool without knowing how deep the water is?  When put this way, it’s easy for many patients to see that X-rays are an important piece of preventative care that can go quite a long way in terms of both saving you money and helping your teeth. In fact, your X-rays can even help diagnose some conditions that would be much harder to diagnose on sight alone. These conditions include:

  • Cavities
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Cysts
  • Tumors
  • Infections and abscesses
  • Cancer

While many patients tend to refuse dental x-rays because of the cost, just think: how much more expensive would it be to perform a root canal or other emergency dental procedure? As they always say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of the cure. Better yet, by investing in X-rays you could be saving yourself from having to wonder, “Is there an emergency dentist near me?” when a condition like a cavity begins to display some of its more uncomfortable symptoms.

Is the Radiation from Dental X-Rays Dangerous?

Many patients wonder if the radiation from the dental x-ray machine is at all harmful. For most dental offices across the country, this is no longer a concern – as most modern systems are digital, and use a very low level of radiation to work their magic.

Consider this for example, the average American generally receives over 350 millirem (mrem) in a given year. This exposure comes from literally everything, from all sorts of products, objects, and even foods we use, enjoy, and come into contact with. The average dental x-ray machine exposes the patient to less than .5 millirems, making the prospect of radiation damage a very slim one.

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