Why do I need x-rays every year?

X-rays are a very important diagnostic tool that your dentist uses to check for many things.

  1. They are used to see if there is any decay under an existing filling. As fillings age and get worn from use the margins can begin to breakdown. This process can let bacteria from your mouth get under the filling where it cannot be brushed or rinsed out. This “sitting bacteria” can cause “recurrent decay”. Although it is possible under both composite and amalgam fillings, it usually occurs under and amalgam filling because they are not “bonded” to the tooth like a composite.
  2. X-rays are also used to look for decay that cannot be detected by the naked eye. The area in between your teeth where your floss goes can’t be seen by just looking. The x-ray allows the dentist to see those areas that are more susceptible to decay without daily flossing.
  3. As we age our dental needs change a little bit. We are not as concerned about cavities but are more concerned about bone loss and periodontal disease. An X-ray allows the Doctor and the Hygienist to monitor the level of the bone around your teeth used to keep them upright and firm in your mouth.
  4. An infection at the root tip of a tooth can cause great pain and discomfort. May different things can happen in your mouth to cause this. When the Doctor can see and infection starting we are able to treat it promptly before it becomes a pain.
  5. The Dentist will usually consult the x-ray of the tooth to be treated before and sometimes during the procedure.
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