How Often Should Dental X-Rays Be Performed?

For many years, traditional dental x-rays were seen to be harmful to your body due to high amounts of radiation. However, like other medical technology, steps have been made within the dental industry to combat that fear with better technology. At Great Lakes Dental Arts, we know overall health is important which is why we have equipped each of our examination rooms with the latest digital radiography machines. Our Kodak Digital Radiography uses nearly 50% less radiation than traditional devices and allows us to create x-ray results instantly allowing us to be more efficient with identifying the problem and treatment.

Dentists have found that it is much easier to treat dental problems earlier in their development than after they have become a large problem. X-rays allow those early problems to be detected before the dentist's eyes and other tools can tell the story. By preventing a problem, or stopping a minor problem from becoming major, the patient avoids larger dental bills, inconvenience of sitting in the dental chair as long, and potentially much of the discomfort that might be associated with a worsening dental condition.


  • Infections that affect the tooth root or the bone can be detected.
  • Bone loss which could indicate gum disease can be detected.
  • Decay that is occurring below the gum line can be spotted and treated before it becomes a greater problem.
  • X-rays guide doctors in preparing tooth implants, braces, dentures, and other dental procedures.
  • Tumors, cysts, and other possible abnormalities are revealed that would take much longer to identify without an x-ray.


  • Help identify tooth decay.
  • Ensure there is enough room in the mouth for incoming teeth.
  • Check for the development of adult teeth to determine the best strategy for dealing with those teeth as they come in.

The frequency a patient should expect x-rays depends largely on their overall dental health and the recommendation of their doctor. Patients who have a history of cavities and dental or gum disease may get x-rays every year or even at every six-month checkup. Other patients with no history of gum disease may only be x-rayed every two years or so. Usually, a patient new to a dentist can expect to have x-rays taken to create a baseline record as they become an established patient. The more bad habits or history of dental problems a patient has, the more they should expect to have x-rays when they visit their dentist. Smokers, people who drink sugary drinks, and those with a history of periodontal disease should expect more x-rays than most people.