A complete dental exam cannot be done without the diagnosis needed from x-rays or radiographs. X-rays show us cavities, bone loss, dental infections or abscesses, cysts or other boney changes, extra teeth, impacted teeth, tooth and jaw fractures, changes in the TMJ, and many other things. The American Dental Association recommends patients receive a full series of x-rays every 3 to 5 years, and bitewings (a series of 4 x-rays used to detect cavities and bone loss) more frequently, depending on one’s cavity risk.  Some patients have concerns over radiation exposure during dental x-rays.  We use all digital radiographs and lead aprons, which lower the exposure to the patient. In addition, due the small size of dental x-rays, the ADA explains that “Radiation exposure associated with dentistry represents a minor contribution to the total exposure from all sources, including natural and man-made.”

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