Acadiana Pediatric Dentistry

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Digital Dental X-Rays

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Dental X-rays (radiographs) are one of the primary tools that dentists use in evaluating your total oral health. These images of your teeth use very low and safe levels of radiation to capture images of the interior of your teeth and gums. X-Rays are essential to helping us identify problems such as cavities, tooth decay, and impacted teeth.

How often should I get x-rays of my teeth?

Dental X-rays are generally performed annually but can be vary depending on your specific situation. We may need to take x-rays more often if we are tracking the progress of a dental problem or treatment. Factors affecting how often you get dental X-rays may include your age, current oral health, any symptoms of oral disease, a history of gum disease, or tooth decay.

If you’re a new patient at Louisville Family Dental, we will typically get dental X-rays on your first visit so that we can get a clear picture of your dental health before we begin. This is especially important if you don’t have any recent X-rays from your previous dentist.

Children may need to have dental X-rays more often than adults because their primary teeth are changing more frequently than adult teeth. This is important because it can help the dentist determine if baby teeth need to be pulled to prevent complications, such as adult teeth growing in behind baby teeth.

What are the risks of dental x-rays?

While dental X-rays do involve some radiation, the exposed levels are so low that they’re considered very safe for children and adults. Our office uses digital X-rays, instead of developing them on film, your risks from radiation exposure are even lower.

We also place a lead “bib” over your chest, abdomen, and pelvic region to prevent any unnecessary radiation exposure to your vital organs. Additional precautions may be used for children and in the case of thyroid conditions.

Pregnancy is an exception to the rule. Women who are pregnant or believe they may be pregnant should avoid all types of X-rays. Please let our office know if you believe that you may be pregnant.

Preparing for dental X-rays

Dental X-rays require no special preparation. The only thing you’ll want to do is brush your teeth before your appointment. That creates a more hygienic environment for those working inside your mouth. X-rays are usually done before cleanings.

At the dentist’s office, you’ll sit in a chair with a lead vest across your chest and lap. The X-ray machine is positioned alongside your head to record images of your mouth. Some dental practices have a separate room for X-rays, while others perform them in the same room as cleanings and other procedures.