From a young age, we’re all taught to brush our teeth at least twice per day and floss to keep our teeth in tip-top shape. Beyond the front of our pearly-whites, however, underlying problems can occur that can only be seen by our dentist or dental x-rays.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it’s recommended that all individuals visit the dentist at least once or twice per year, if not more often. Dental x-rays should be taken at least once per year as well, but again, could be conducted more often depending on the needs of a person’s teeth.

Why Dental Check-Ups And X-Rays Are Important

Just like visiting your primary care physician for an annual checkup, your dentist visits are important to make sure your teeth and mouth are healthy. Beyond simply being used for eating, breathing, drinking and speaking, our mouths are connected to several important organ systems in our bodies. This includes our immune system, heart, stomach, lungs and even the brain.

Something as simple as a cavity is important to keep in check to keep the rest of your body healthy, since bacteria can easily travel to these other organ systems. Dentist will be able to see most signs of underlying tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease with a dental mirror. When they cannot, this is where a dental radiograph, or x-ray, comes into play.

Through this exam, the dentist will be able to identify gum disease, bone loss, developmental problems, tumors or underlying signs of decay under or between your teeth.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

In short, the answer is yes, dental X-rays are safe. Patients have expressed concern due to radiation exposure. We understand how any exposure to radiation can sound alarming, which is why dentists take numerous precautions in the process and equipment used to take radiographs of your jaw.

On average, the human body is exposed to 3.2 millisieverts (mSv) of man-made and naturally occurring radiation each year. Sources of this natural exposure include but are not limited to organic materials found within the soil we walk on, the foods we eat, sunlight, and using various means of transportation like a car or airplane.

Compared to these natural and man-made factors, a dental x-ray machine exposes the human body to 0.005 to 0.001 mSv of radiation. This means you would have to get over 640 dental x-rays in order to receive the same amount of natural occurring radiation our bodies endure each year.

Within minutes, two pictures are taken on both sides of your mouth using a cone beam that controls the x-ray. While this device focuses on your lower or upper jaw, patients are given leaded aprons to wear for safety and comfort.

Not only are annual dental x-rays vital for your oral health, but they’re also important for staying on top of your body’s overall health.

General and Cosmetic Dentistry in Winnetka, IL

Whether you’re seeking a routine dental check-up with x-rays or to improve your smile through teeth whitening, consider Chicago Beautiful Smiles for your dental care. Our dental practice puts the health and needs of our patients first as we help you achieve the smile you’ve always desired.

To schedule your appointment today, please call us at (847) 729-6080.