I utilize four main types of x-rays to help evaluate areas not visible otherwise. Certainly not every person will have each of these types of x-rays.
periapical – single tooth, whole root; taken as indicated
bitewing – usually back teeth, half upper / half lower; usually two or four taken; can include front teeth as well in a series of seven bitewing x-rays
full-mouth – all teeth, with both bitewing and periapical x-rays
panoramic – single film, entire mouth
X-ray intervals are determined by your risk. If new cavities or gum problems are detected, your risk for problems detectable by x-rays is greater and the interval should be shorter, otherwise the interval can be longer because of a lower risk level.
I make sure that every patient has some form of x-ray showing the whole mouth as a baseline to compare against in future examinations. I do not treat without x-rays – this is for your health.
I only diagnose from original x-rays. This is for a number of reasons, foremost being your health. By law, original x-rays are to be retained by each dental office – so only copies get forwarded. If something is to be detected on x-rays, it is best detected from an original, not a copy.
Recommended X-ray Intervals
full mouth/panoramic x-ray
once every 3-5 years
bitewing x-rays (frequency related to risk: flossing, brushing, diet, etc.; can be more frequent as needed)
once a year up to age 18
once every 1-3 years for adults
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