This is a very common question for the dental team at every practice. Most people wisely choose to limit their exposure to radiation and would like to know why we ask to take films. During a thorough dental exam, the dentist looks at each tooth from many angles to search for signs of decay, cracks, wear from grinding, and also checks the health of the gum tissue. The only surface that cannot be viewed this way is the area between your teeth. This is a great place for bacteria to build up and start to form decay.
We know that dental decay does not always cause the patient to feel discomfort in the tooth, especially if it is just getting started in the area. Once it takes hold, other teeth may be affected by these bacteria and cause further trouble. Underneath your gums, the dentist is also able to see the health and height of bone supporting the teeth. This becomes more and more important as a person goes through their life. All of this leads us to the need for regular x-rays of your teeth, which allows the dentist to catch any signs of early decay so that they can be treated and restored before they can progress. Unfortunately, without these x-rays, dentists cannot make a complete assessment of the health of your mouth and personalized recommendations to keep your pearly whites in great shape for years to come. If you have concerns about what films would be needed, please ask at Life Smiles family dentistry in Plymouth, MN, and we will be happy discuss your individual needs.