We have all had bitewing x-rays. You know, two x-rays on each side that help us detect cavities between the teeth. But, did you know that we also check for the level of your jaw bone, nerve size, margins of existing fillings and even large pieces of build up? That’s right! We get all that information from 4 little pictures.
The guidelines we use to determine how often to take these radiographs may vary from patient to patient based on their needs. If you are at a high risk and have a history of decay or many fillings and crowns, we may choose to take bitewings twice a year. This is because early diagnostics means cheaper, easier repair. If you have a low risk or minimal history of decay and restorative work, we may choose to take your x-rays every 1.5 years instead. This is generally the longest we will wait to take x-rays in order to ensure we can diagnose abnormalities before they get out of control.
So, before you decide to forego your next x-rays, discuss the risks you may be taking, and the benefits of taking those x-rays with your dental professional. They may be able to ease your mind and answer questions you have. Just remember, fixing decay while it can repaired as a filling sure beats fixing decay after it has reached the nerve and needs a root canal!