How Often Should I Have Dental X-rays (Radiographs)?

Dental x-rays provide critical insight into dental conditions that would otherwise be impossible because they allow the dentist to see things invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, they are an essential part of preventing dental disease and are also critical during some types of dental treatment.

There are different types of x-ray views used in dentistry for different purposes.

Bitewing X-rays

Bitewing x-rays are used for screening the crowns of the teeth and the top part of the gums for signs of diseases such as decay and gum disease. 

This type of x-ray is generally taken routinely during a dental check-up, often on a two-yearly basis. However, Dr Teo may request them more often if your decay rate is high or less often if you have a low risk of decay.

Periapical X-rays

Periapical x-rays are often used to diagnose the cause of tooth pain. These allow the length of the tooth to be seen, from top to tip of the root. This type of x-ray is also used during root canal treatment or prior to extraction. It can also be helpful in planning complex treatments like dental implants. 

Periapical x-rays tend to be taken on an as-need basis.

OPG (Orthopantomogram)

An OPG is a large x-ray film that shows the entire mouth, including details of the teeth, gums, jaws and sinuses. This may be recommended as a screening tool during a young person’s growth to help determine the presence and positions of adult teeth developing within the jaws, as well as the presence or absence of wisdom teeth.

An OPG may be taken if a jaw fracture is suspected. It may also be able to detect tumours and cysts in the jaw bone.

Like periapicals, OPGs are taken on an as-needed basis.