Radiographs, or X-Rays, are one of the most vital tools in detecting tooth decay, bone loss, infection, gum disease, abscesses, abnormalities, and some types of tumors. Tooth decay cannot be seen with the naked eye if it is located in between the teeth (the most common area) and can only be detected with a radiograph.
We take dental radiographs when the health benefit outweighs the health risk. The benefit of early diagnosis of dental conditions outweighs the risk of waiting until an emergency or allowing disease to progress unknowingly. For a patient who has a higher risk for dental disease, the benefit of more frequent radiographs is greater than the benefit for a patient with a low risk for dental disease. Therefore, the need for dental radiographs is determined and recommended on an individual basis rather than a general timeline. Typically, at your initial visit a full mouth radiograph scan is needed to provide a chronicle of patient history and monitor progress of any decay or progression of disease in subsequent visits.
However, there are reasons why a patient should not receive dental radiographs. For this and other reasons, a thorough medical history is taken and reviewed at each appointment. Again, each patient is different, and their needs will determine how the doctor evaluates the need for radiographs.