Like all dental care, dental X-ray examinations are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. The use of radiographs varies according to your age, risk for disease, and your dental history.

If you are a new patient, the dentist may recommend a full-mouth series of radiographs (about 14-21 films depending on the technique used and the size of your mouth) to help assess your oral health and analyze changes that may occur later.

When you return to the dental office as part of your regular care, radiographs may be needed to check for any hidden decay, evaluate the condition of the bone beneath your gum tissues, or evaluate the status of growth and development. Of course, radiographs also can be used to determine the source of any discomfort you may be experiencing.

Children may need X-ray examinations more often than adults because their oral structures are changing as the permanent teeth come into place. Periodic radiographs can help your dentist chart the progress of this growth and development.