How Often Do You Need Dental X-rays?

xray3At Angell’s Dentistry, our patients at Angell’s Dentistry often ask us how often they need mouth x-rays. We hope the following information will help answer this question.

For starters, in 1973, the International Commission on Radiologic Protection established the ALARA principle as a guideline for how often dental patients should have mouth x-rays. ALARA stands for “as low as reasonably achievable.”

The American Dental Association in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration adds that the frequency of x-rays should be based on factors such as the patient’s age, risk factors (cavities, gum disease, etc.), and any other considerations unique to the patient. Dentists and patients should discuss the need for x-rays so they can make informed decisions together.

In general, here are some basic, practical guidelines for getting dental x-rays:

  • Adults without apparent dental problems who properly care for their teeth and have no symptoms of oral disease or cavities can go two to three years between bitewing x-rays
  • If you have a high risk and history of cavities, getting x-rays at least every 18 months is recommended (it takes about two years or more for cavities to penetrate adult teeth enamel)
  • Children with adequately spaced primary (baby) teeth and no cavities don’t need any dental x-rays
  • Older children with a low propensity for cavities can go 18 months to three years between bitewing x-rays, unless they are at higher risk
  • Dental x-rays—whether bitewing or full-mouth panographic x-rays—play an important part in your oral care. Be sure to ask Dr. Angell if you have any questions or concerns about how often you should have your mouth x-rayed.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Troy and Birmingham area who utilizes the latest dental techniques and technology, be sure to check out Dr. Douglas Angell. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. Be sure to visit our website at:

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