This question has no one-size-fits-all answer. As is the case with many other dental and medical procedures, the frequency in which dental x-rays are recommended depend completely on the health and risk factors of the patients. Patients who are especially vulnerable to radiation might never be candidates for dental x-rays. Conversely, patients in poor oral heath may need to have at least biannual x-rays.
Different Patient Types Require Different X-Ray Frequencies
Patients with more oral health problems will require more frequent x-rays than patients in good oral health. The ADA recommends x-rays every 6 to 12 months for adult patients with decayed teeth or elevated risks for cavities. The ADA reduces the time to once every 2 to 3 years for adult patients with no indications of tooth decay or cavities. Children may require more frequent x-rays than adults due to their developing mouths; children with poor oral health will need x-rays every 6 months, whereas children with good oral health can wait from 12 to 24 months between x-rays. Note, though, that the frequency of x-rays is independent of biannual cleanings and exams.
Why Is It Okay to Wait More Than a Year for Dental X-Rays?
One of the main threats that dental x-rays detects is the formation of cavities. In an adult mouth, it takes at least two years for a cavity to form. In addition, children with healthy baby teeth and no cavities do not need dental x-rays at all. And although the radiation used in a dental x-ray is miniscule, it is cumulative; excessive amounts of x-rays will increase a patient's risk for cancer and other radiation-related diseases. If you have questions about dental x-rays and whether you are due or overdue for one, contact our office so our professionals can consult with you.
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