Dental films are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without films, problem areas may go undetected.
Periodontal films may reveal:
Abscesses or cysts.
Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
Decay between the teeth.
Poor tooth and root positions.
Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental films safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of films is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
Dental films produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental films. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast film that cuts down the exposure time of each x-ray.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental films depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary films based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.
A full mouth series of dental films is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing films (films of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
A digital panoramic film is recommended for patients requiring implant therapy. A panoramic film allows for visualization of important structures that may impact implant placement such as nerves and sinuses. It also allows for visualization of both jaws simultaneously, thus making detection of tumors or cysts, which may not be evident on a full series, possible.