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X-rays: An important component of dental care
Updated: 12/29/2008 11:30:00 PM

X-rays: An important component of dental care Having dental x-rays taken of your teeth and mouth is a regular component of a dental checkup and will give the dentist a better picture of a patient's overall dental health.

According to the American Dental Association, the frequency at which x-rays should be taken depends on the individual's needs and situation as determined by a dentist.

For example, a new patient may require x-rays to create an initial picture of dental health for later comparison. Children may need more frequent x-rays than adults because their teeth and jaws are still growing, the ADA says.

The majority of x-rays are taken with a patient biting down on a piece of plastic with x-ray film, but others are captured digitally.

After taking a radiograph of a patient's mouth, a dentist will examine it for areas of decay that exist between teeth and under fillings, infections in the bone, gum disease, abscesses, tumors and other abnormalities.

The Academy of General Dentistry assures people who are concerned about radiation exposure that dental x-rays use only low levels of radiation and that dental professionals take steps to ensure patients' exposure is minimal.

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