As a dentist, I need to take x-rays to be able to see things that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Having practised dentistry for over 8 years now, I simply cannot count the number of times that I’ve found tooth decay or infections on x-rays that were not visible when looking into the mouth.
Now, x-rays do use radiation to produce an image and this concerns some people.
Dental x-rays use a very small dose of radiation and are very safe. They’re even safe for pregnant women, contrary to what many people believe. We use digital x-rays which reduce your dose of radiation compared to the traditional film-based x-rays. Even our biggest x-ray – a digital OPG which looks at all of your teeth and jaw bones, is around the same dose of radiation as a flight from Brisbane to Singapore.
X-rays are very important for your dentist to be able to completely assess the condition of your teeth, gums and jaw.
It’s important to note that you do not necessarily need x-rays every time you go to the dentist for your regular check-up and cleaning. The interval between x-rays will depend on the type of x-ray, the treatment you have received previously, your current dental disease (whether you are currently suffering tooth decay or gum disease etc.) status and your risk of developing further dental diseases in the future.
You should speak to your dentist to see whether they are using a low-dose digital x-ray system and to find out how often they are required in your case.