It's safe to assume just about every adult patient, whether its aloud or kept to themselves, has asked: Didn’t I just have x-rays taken? Why do I need to have these taken every year?
While it may seem like you just had dental radiographs (x-rays) taken, your dental professional will ask to update any necessary films as needed – typically once a year. We only take films when there is a reason to, not just because it has been a certain amount of time. Some people need diagnostic images more or less frequently than the average person due to their disease risk. In order to adequately diagnose and then properly treat tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist requests updated x-rays annually to confirm there is or is not in fact evidence of dental decay, bone loss, or abscesses (infection). These are not all easily detectable with simply a “look-see” in the early (and reversible) stages. Once decay, disease, and infection are visible to the naked eye, more extensive and expense treatment is typically required. Not to mention the risk greatly increases for dental pain at the most inopportune time.
With technology rapidly advancing, radiation exposure with these annual x-rays has also decreased immensely. Did you know it would take almost 10,000 dental x-rays to meet your yearly maximum of radiation exposure? When you weigh this against all the serious conditions such as dental decay, periodontal disease, and abscesses that can go undetected without x-rays, it seems like a pretty fair tradeoff…
So the next time you find yourself asking “why do I need these taken?”, hopefully you will be able to answer your own question and feel confident your Plymouth, MN dental professional is recommending this treatment with only your best interests in mind.