Dental X-Rays: How Often Should I Have Them?
Dr Neel Chudasama, dentist at The Dental Suite discusses the reasons behind why you need x-rays and the more you look after your teeth the fewer you need.
How Often You Should Have Dental X-Rays Taken
The answer to this question really depends on your age and oral health. For example, a 40 year old man who has never had a filling might not need X-rays as often as a 10 year old boy who has lots of cavities and doesn’t brush his teeth properly.
Am I at a high cavity risk?
The best way to work out if you’re at a high risk of getting a cavity is to ask yourself the following questions:
- How many fillings have you had in your lifetime?
- Have you recently had a cavity?
- How much sugar do you include in your diet?
- Do you brush and floss every day for as long as you should?
People who have had cavities in the past, don’t pay too much attention to their oral hygiene and indulge in a lot of sugary snacks tend to be at a higher risk and might be advised to have regular dental X-rays.
Regular dental X-rays
Below is a rough guide as to how often we should be having dental X-rays, depending on our age:
If you’ve had to have a lot of fillings in the past and have a high-sugar diet, your dentist might recommend X-rays every 6-18 months. But if you don’t have any cavities and keep the sweets to a minimum, you’ll probably only need one every 24-36 months.
Children and teens
If your child has had fillings before or eats a lot of sugary food, they’re likely to need dental X-rays every 6-12 months.
Kiddies younger than 12 who don’t or have never had fillings might only need an X-ray every one to two years. As your child develops into their teenage years, they might need X-rays even less often, around every 18-36 months.
But if there are spaces between your child’s teeth, dentists have loads of clever ways to clinically inspect them without actually needing an X-ray.
Dentists use special equipment that gets rid of any excess radiation, so your child will only be exposed to the absolute minimum. X-rays are also super quick, making them even safer. If you do have any safety concerns, have a chat with your dentist during your child’s appointment.
Other reasons for dental X-rays
Using bitewing radiography (this is the fancy term for X-rays that show the upper and lower back teeth in a single image), dental X-rays are perfect for spotting cavities and dental decay, but there are plenty of other reasons you might need to have one. These include:
- Gum disease – X-rays are also a good way to detect and assess bone loss as a result of gum disease and can also be useful for creating a plan to monitor the condition.
- Dental implants – dental implants rely on having enough jawbone to secure the implant. Your dentist will easily be able to make sure this is the case by taking an X-ray.
- Orthodontics – X-rays are great for looking at how your teeth bite together and help to spot orthodontic problems. This makes choosing a brace easier because you and your dentist will be able to see exactly what need to be treated and if any preparation is necessary.
The bottom line
As we can see, how often you need a dental X-ray can vary from every six months to every three years! It really just depends on your oral health.
It’s important to remember that this article is just a rough guide. Your dentist might recommend that you have more or even fewer X-rays. For example, if you have enough space in between your teeth, your Leicester & Loughborough dentist might be able to tell whether or not you’re cavity-free without an X-ray.
If you’d like to know more about dental X-rays, please contact The Dental Suite. Our fabulous friendly team will be happy to answer all of your questions!