When Radiographs Are Necessary?

When Radiographs Are Necessary

We only take necessary radiographs at this office. A necessary radiograph is one that is used to diagnose the extent of a dental problem that we already know exists, such as a broken tooth, a cavity, or an abscess. We also must use radiographs as part of an initial or periodic oral examination. In these examinations, radiographs are used to determine whether there are problems in the beginning stage that cannot be seen merely by looking at the tooth or area.

We can only see about 50% of your oral conditions without radiographs. Radiographs allow us to see, among other things, in between the teeth, at and below the margins of fillings and crowns, and the location and density of bone that supports your teeth. With this information we can make a full diagnosis, treating little or hidden problems before they become really big problems. Radiographs are not considered a preventive measure. However, they do allow us to diagnose and treat a problem early, thus preventing it from becoming worse.

Sometimes we must take several radiographs of one particular area. Radiographs are only a two-dimensional, black-and-white representation of a three-dimensional, colored tooth and bone. Radiographs taken from different angles give a more three-dimensional and therefore truer look at various anatomic features. We will have a much clearer picture of the kind, size, and location of any problems.

The healthier your mouth is and the more unremarkable your dental history, the fewer radiographs we need to advise. The more dental problems you have had, the more monitoring and therefore the more radiographs we will need. However, if we don’t take the radiographs, the problem will grow undetected, and even more, radiographs than originally advised may be necessary.

Radiation Safety


We are very concerned with radiation safety. Appropriate protective lead shields are always provided to you. We work in the office around the radiograph units all day, every day. We have a vested interest in taking only necessary radiographs for both your health and ours. Be assured that the only radiographs we recommend are those we need in order to accurately diagnose and treat.

If you have any questions about radiographs, please feel free to ask us.