Boise Dentists Blog

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Advice from Boise Dentists: How Often Should Dental X-Rays be Taken?

Image via Flickr by Ano Labb

Wondering how often you should get dental x-rays or how safe dental x-rays are? Our numbers and recommendations vary with every patient, but below are some examples of how we might modify our x-ray dental schedule to fit you:

Dental X-Rays During Annual or Semi-Annual Cleanings:

Some dentists will take a dental x ray from their patients every six months simply because their insurance will pay for it. Others rely on a visual exam and only use dental x-rays if we see a problem. Our Boise dentists tend to side with the latter group.

X-Ray Dental Schedule for Children:

Our Boise dentists prefer to rely on a visual inspection of a child’s teeth instead of taking a dental x ray. The reason? Children may be more vulnerable to radiation than adults. And a visual inspection is a good way to see if there is any need to get a dental x ray. As children get older, we might recommend getting x-rays every one or two years.

X-Ray Dental Recommendations during Pregnancy:

If possible, we (and the American Pregnancy Association) recommend waiting on non-emergency dental x-rays until after the pregnancy. While radiation levels are very low as explained below, we just don’t see the need to take any chances, especially during the first trimester. Don’t take this as a ticket out of making an appointment with our Boise dentists during pregnancy, however! Treating cavities and other dental problems is extremely important during pregnancy due to the stress these issues can bring on the body.

X-Ray Dental Schedule for Those with Dental Disease:

People who we know have recurrent issues with their teeth should definitely get a dental x ray more often. This will clearly depend on the patient and their history, however, but a common number would be six months.

How Much Radiation in a Dental X Ray?

There have been a lot of conversations lately about the radiation in dental x-rays. Several sources have said that the radiation in dental x-rays is equal to the amount of radiation you get in a day from the sun and other sources. So the levels are generally pretty low. However, radiation exposure cumulates over a lifetime, so there is good reason to not be too hasty to get dental x-rays done.

Hopefully this will give an insight into how our office works with dental x-rays. Got more questions? Feel free to talk to us or send us a note, and we might write about it here!

Resources:

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/dentalwork.html

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-10-05/health/sc-health-1005-dental-xrays-20111005_1_x-rays-radiation-bitewing