Dental x-rays are oftentimes the only way certain oral issues can be detected. They give dentists valuable information to best treat your gums, teeth, and jawbones.
Here is what you need to know about dental x-rays, explained by our dentist in Fremont, CA.
How Often Do I Need Dental X-Rays?
If you are healthy and don’t have underlying conditions, such as diabetes, periodontal disease, or cancer, dental x-rays should be taken once every 12-36 months. If you do have underlying conditions, we recommend dental x-rays every year.
Should Children Get Dental X-Rays?
Children should get their first get their mouths x-rayed between ages three and six years. If there are no issues and they are healthy, x-rays should be taken every two to three years after that until their wisdom teeth erupt or are taken out.
It’s always important to get professional advice, especially when it comes to medical decisions. So, you should consult your dentist about how often you’re child needs dental x-rays.
Are There Alternatives to Dental X-Rays?
It’s no secret that x-rays emit radiation, so many people seek alternatives. While there are some, not all of them are as effective without at least some radiation.
Digital x-rays have been catching on quickly over the last couple of decades for several reasons.
● They emit 10% the amount of radiation as a traditional x-ray
● They give better images than traditional x-rays
● They show images more quickly than traditional x-rays
● They show beneath the surface, unlike some of the options below
Near-Infrared Imaging (NIR)
NIR imaging uses light to detect tooth damage and decay. The near-infrared light will shine through the healthy enamel and make cracks, cavities, and lesions appear darker.
This x-ray alternative doesn’t completely replace traditional x-rays because they cannot show beneath the surface. However, NIR imaging is a great way to identify issues that aren’t obvious to the naked eye.
Thermal imaging is becoming increasingly popular in the medical field. It allows for identifying areas with no, poor, or increased blood flow. For example, infections will appear on the imaging system as a “hot spot,” while impacted canines will appear as “cold spots,” indicating poor blood flow.
Many of us are familiar with ultrasound imagery, but did you know they can be used to identify problems with your mouth? While it does great at showing surface-level issues and doesn’t emit radiation, dental ultrasounds may not show issues beneath the surface.
Dentists don’t usually use MRIs because the machinery involved is very expensive for how little they would actually use it. MRIs are generally used by oral surgeons before procedures to identify things like microcracks in your teeth or jawbones.
Nevertheless, a dentist may refer you to get this x-ray alternative done for specific reasons.
iCat® Cone Beam Computed Tomography
iCat® CBCT can generate detailed, 3D images of your teeth, soft tissue, nerve pathways, and bones. This type of imagery can identify several problems with your mouth, both above and below the surface.
The downfall of cone beam computed tomography is that it is not radiation-free. It does emit radiation, but it is in a more focused area than traditional x-rays and CT scans.
We frequently use this type of scanning in our Fremont dental office for precise and detailed imaging.
Are Dental X-Rays Dangerous?
Over-exposure to radiation is dangerous and can cause DNA mutation. However, according to the National Health Service, one x-ray exposes you to about the same amount of radiation as just a few days of normal living. Which gives you about a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of seeing adverse effects.
Who Needs Dental X-Rays?
Starting between ages three and six, everyone should get dental x-rays every one to three years.
If it’s been more than two years since your last one, consider scheduling an appointment to stay on top of your oral health.
How Much Do Dental X-Rays Cost?
Without insurance, a dental x-ray typically costs between $35 and $130. This price can vary depending on your geographic location, how much of your mouth is being x-rayed, and what type of imaging you choose.
Does Insurance Pay For Dental X-Rays?
Most insurance plans will cover a round of x-rays once every six months. However, you should check with your provider to ensure they are covered under your plan, so you don’t have any unexpected bills.
Get Dental X-Rays in Fremont, CA
If it’s been more than 18-24 months since your last dental x-rays, call our Fremont, CA office or book an appointment online! Take action because early identification of problems will prevent them from worsening.