How Many Dental X-Rays Should You Have a Year?

The American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines provide dentists with the flexibility to make decisions about the frequency of dental x-rays. Generally, children who are not at high risk of tooth decay should have X-rays taken once every one to two years; teens who are not at high risk should have them every one and a half to three years; and adults who are not at high risk should have them done every two to three years. However, those with recurrent tooth decay and other complicated problems may need X-rays taken once or twice a year. Are dental x-rays safe? The answer is yes.

Dental x-rays are safe and often extremely beneficial for oral health. As a patient, you have the right to have your x-rays taken anywhere you want, or to have them emailed to your new dentist. Each X-ray exposes the patient to a certain amount of radiation, but the amount is small and is reduced with each new generation of X-ray equipment. Full x-rays are also common in preparation for many dental procedures, such as extractions and root smoothing.

To help dentists make these vital decisions, professional dental organizations publish general guidelines on when x-rays should be performed. A dental x-ray shows all of the daily exposure to background radiation in a one-second pulse of energy. If dental insurance pays for 10, 20, or 30 x-rays over a certain period of time, dentists will give you as many x-rays as are allowed and paid for by your dental insurance. I belong to the category described by the ADA as “an adult with good oral health and low risk of dental problems” so I suppose an X-ray every 2 or 3 years shouldn't be bad at all.

The general rule is that you should not have X-rays, unless it is a dental problem that absolutely requires an x-ray to develop a treatment plan.Two years ago, I changed my interval of bite X-rays from every year to every two years, because for two years in a row the dental assistant did the X-rays several times. They sent me to another dentist for more than 2 more x-rays and then they sent me to another dentist for a panoramic X-ray. So why all these x-rays if dentists misunderstand some spots and shadows? Just today, I left an office after the dentist didn't put sealants on me because I refused to let 24 x-rays be taken.Gordon Bell uses dental x-rays to get a complete picture of the health of his teeth, bones and gums, and to discover small problems before they become major problems. Dentists quickly realize that there are multiple sources of radiation in your daily life that expose you to higher levels, over a year, than a dental x-ray.

Madison Bew
Madison Bew

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