Do You Really Need Annual Dental X-Rays?

X-Rays are undoubtedly an important and useful component of any dental patient’s treatment. X-ray images can show cavities, bone loss, and other structures that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Bitewing x-rays can show decay, bone loss, infection, gum disease, and alignment. To further explore the medical uses of Dental X-Rays on WebMD, Click Here. Many dentists recommend that their patients receive annual bitewing X-rays. Not so fast!

A recent article published by Austin Frakt of the New York Times, You Probably Don’t Need Dental X-Rays Every Year, reviews a report issued by the American Dental Association. Adults who care for their teeth and are asymptomatic of oral disease or cavities can go two or three years between bitewing X-rays, according to the American Dental Association. Adults with a history of cavities should be more closely monitored and receive X-rays every 18 months at the least. These timeframes are based upon the rate at which cavities form. Usually, it takes around two years for the adult teeth enamel to be permeated by a cavity.

Any form of X-ray brings with it an exposure to radiation, which is a main reason why annual bitewing X-rays may be unnecessary. The radiation exposure present in a bitewing X-ray is minimal; dental X-rays total less than 3 percent of all clinical radiation to which patients are exposed. However, radiation is cumulative, so every x-ray increases the risk of harm that can lead to cancer. That being said, dental X-rays are necessary. They help dentists see decay, infection, and gum disease.

No matter how routine a procedure can be there is always a risk of error. When the unthinkable occurs a family can be devastated and want answers. A legal professional skilled in dental malpractice can help a family get those answers. They can review the medical records and consult with dental experts to help figure out what happened. They can hold the professionals accountable for their mistake. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering, future medical expenses and other damages.

No one ever thinks they will be the victim of medical or dental negligence. Victims of medical or dental malpractice have legal rights to hold these professionals accountable.