There are areas of your teeth and bone that cannot be seen with just a visual exam. Now that we use digital imaging, we can expose with as much as 90% less radiation than with regular film based X-rays. We follow the principal of “as low as reasonable possible” for taking radiographs.
X-rays can be taken in three different ways depending on what needs to be seen. Examples: A panoramic would be taken to look at growth and development, wisdom teeth, jaw joints and a multitude of other structures. A periapical would be taken to view the crown, root and surrounding bone of a single tooth or teeth. A bitewing view is taken to view in between the teeth called the flossing space.
Most often X-rays are taken for prevention. We recommend every 12 months for children, 12-24 months for adults and more often if an area is under observation.
The maintenance of your teeth and gums on a regular interval is much like getting regular oil changes and tune ups for your vehicle. Some people who have good homecare meaning brushing correctly and flossing on a daily basis can have an annual checkup; others require a 3 month interval due to periodontal disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist can determine your ideal interval based on your individual needs. However, 6 months is a good rule of thumb.
The relationship you have with your dentist is much like that of your family physician. It is usually a long term, loyal and “built upon over time” type of professional relationship. It is built on a foundation of trust, dignity and a genuine sense of well-being. The dentist you choose may have some of the listed attributes that are important to you. Make a list of your wants and needs, this also includes the types of services offered, hours of operation and convenience. Ask to take a tour of the office. Check for cleanliness, organization and accessibility to name a few. Most importantly; don’t be afraid to ask questions!