How Often Do I Need Dental X-rays?

Healthy teeth will ensure your body is healthy. They will help you bite and chew your food, reducing it to bits for your body to digest. Sometimes, you may have compromised teeth, not realizing it until it is too late. Dental X-rays help you keep track of your oral health and protect your teeth. It also saves you unnecessary discomfort and money you may spend on treatment.


Frequency of X-rays

In practice, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some dentists will recommend you get a dental X-ray every year. Others will tell you to do so every two or three years. It all depends on your needs and the severity of your condition. Here is a breakdown to help you understand what various groups need.



Before the eruption of their first tooth, your child may need an X-ray if their teeth are touching. X-rays are also good if the dentist cannot probe or visualize all surfaces. Otherwise, X-rays to check growth and development are not necessary at this age. The other reason the dentist may recommend X-rays is if your child shows signs of tooth decay. The recommendation is to bring them back for X-rays until the tooth decay resolves. 



Teenagers at high risk of tooth decay or who already have it need X-rays every six months. The same applies when there are signs of disease in their mouth. It helps dentists track their oral health, especially if their wisdom teeth are yet to erupt. The X-rays will continue until there are no more signs of tooth decay. Afterward, your teenager can go for X-rays every one-and-a-half to two years.



Adults need to get dental X-rays every two or three years. However, you will need them every year or one-and-a-half years if you have signs of tooth decay. The dentist will treat the decay and track it until it disappears. The X-rays help your dentist track whether there are still signs of tooth decay underneath the fillings and crowns.


Adults Without Teeth

Adults with bridges, dentures, or other restorations need dental X-rays to keep track of their oral health. The X-rays can also reveal signs of bone loss from using these restorations or in new places. The dentist may recommend that these X-rays happen every one or one-and-a-half years. 



People who smoke may need dental X-rays more often. The habit increases their risk of bone loss around their teeth. It also makes them more likely to experience gum recession, gum disease, and periodontal disease. Those who chew tobacco increase their risk of cavities.


Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease may require gum surgery. The dentist will track what is happening underneath your gums before the procedure. For them to do this, they will need to take X-rays. These will help them know how your teeth and bones are doing before and after surgery. Follow your dentist’s instructions for the best results and proper healing.

For more information on dental X-rays, visit Fei Hwang, D.D.S., Milpitas Family and Cosmetic Dentist, at our office in Milpitas, California. Call (408) 729-7882 to book an appointment today.

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