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We are asked almost weekly about the safety of our digital x-rays. I ran across this article by Colgate that I think answers many frequently asked questions.

How Often Should Your Teeth Be X-rayed?

Even though no X-ray can be considered routine, many people require X-rays on a regular basis so that their dental condition can be monitored. Exactly how often this happens will depend on your medical and dental history and current condition. Some people may need X-rays as often as every six months. For others, X-rays may not be needed for as long as two years. In patients with no recent dental or gum disease and who visit the dentist regularly for check-ups, X-rays may be taken only every five years or so. Who needs more frequent or regular radiographs?

Children – Many children need X-rays every six months to one year, depending on age, because they are highly likely to develop caries. X-rays also help monitor tooth development.

Adults with extensive restoration work, including fillings – All the conditions that helped create the caries to begin with continue, making it necessary to check for decay beneath existing fillings or in new locations.

Anyone who drinks sugary sodas, chocolate milk or coffee or tea with sugar – Even mildly sugary beverages create an environment in the mouth that’s perfect for decay, so anyone who drinks these beverages regularly will need to have more regular X-rays.

People with periodontal (gum) disease – Periodontal treatments may need to be stepped up if there are significant or continuing signs of bone loss.

People who are taking medications that lead to dry mouth. Saliva helps keep the acid levels (pH) in the mouth stable. In a dry mouth, the pH decreases, causing the minerals in the teeth to break down, leaving them prone to caries. Medications that can decrease saliva are those prescribed for hypertension, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, antihistamines, diuretics, narcotics, anti-convulsants and anti-cholinergics.

People who have dry mouth because of disease,or because of medical treatments that damaged the salivary glands, such as radiation to the head and neck for cancer treatment.Smokers, because smoking increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Dr Johnson uses latest in digital radiology to treat his patients.

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