If you receive X-rays during a dental exam, the denser parts of the mouth, like teeth and bones not the soft tissue, like cheeks and gums, absorb the majority of the X-rays before striking the film. This creates a distinct image on the radiograph. Your teeth will be noticeably lighter because fewer X-rays penetrate to reach the film. The darker images will be cavities and gum disease, a result of more X-ray penetration. The dentist will interpret these X-rays to safely and accurately detect hidden abnormalities.

An individual patient’s approach to dental care will determine how just how often dental X-rays (radiographs) should be taken. Each individual patient has different needs and since no two are alike the regular scheduling of X-ray exams should be arranged according to each individual patient’s specific needs. Your mouth will be examined and the dentist will review your medical and dental history. Following those procedures it will be determined whether or not to take X-rays.

Your age, any risk for a particular disease or possible signs and symptoms will determine whether or not X-rays will be scheduled for future recall visits. Any recent films may be reviewed to determine if there are new cavities, any possible gum disease or to evaluate additional growth and development that may have occurred since your last visit. In the case of children, they may require X-rays more frequently than adult patients. That’s due to the fact that their teeth and jaws are in the early stages of development. In addition, their teeth are more vulnerable to decay than an adult’s teeth.