How Safe And Necessary Are Dental X-rays?

By: Dr. Rebecca Koenigsberg

X-ray technology has changed dramatically since the 1800’s when Nobel Prize winning German physicist Wilhelm Rontgen made his discovery. Early X-rays used large doses of radiation. New technology, safety procedures and regulations have greatly reduced exposure to well within maximum permissible dose levels. At Gallery57Dental, we have the latest digital sensors which ensure the most diagnostic detail with the least radiation. Digital sensors are specialized sensors that sends the image directly to a computer and can be viewed immediately.

Why do patients need dental X-rays?

Many dental problems occur between teeth and are imperceptible to the naked eye. X-rays are an essential tool in diagnosing tooth decay and impacted teeth, as well as:

  1.  diseases in the jawbone
  2.   periodontal disease
  3.  infections under the gum
  4.  some types of tumors

 How often should you get X-rays?

This varies based on an individual’s risk factors. People who have many old fillings may need check up X-rays yearly while someone who has never had decay may go 2-3 years between x-rays.

These are the factors that go into consideration when deciding how often you need to routinely get X-rays:

  1.  your age
  2. symptoms of oral disease history of gum disease or tooth decay
  3.  history of gum disease or tooth decay

Different Types of X-rays

  1. Bitewings help detect cavities between your teeth as well as check the bone level that supports your teeth.
  2. Periapicals take a picture from the top to the tooth to the tip of the root. It helps your dentist diagnose an abscess, deep decay or abnormalities in the surrounding bone structure.
  3. Panoramic– These are usually taken every 3-5 years and show the entire mouth on a single X-ray. They include all teeth on both upper and lower jaws.
  4. CBCTCone Beam Computerized Tomography gives a 3D view of the teeth and bones. It is often used in implant treatment and diagnosis.
  • The Future Of Dental X-Rays
    Thanks to changes in technology and safety procedures, patients today are ensured of getting minimal radiation from dental X-rays. The following link describes an exciting new technology that may someday be used to give a 3D color image of the tooth and surrounding bone and gums that will give us more information on the health of the tooth and bone.

If you have any questions about this or any other dental issues, feel free to  email us at or call us at 212.246.8700.

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