Many people require regular X-rays to keep track of their oral health. How often should X-rays be done? The answer depends on your medical and dental history and the current condition of your mouth. Some people may need X-rays as often as every six months. People who visit the dentist regularly and have excellent oral health may need X-rays only every three years or so.
To see how often you or your family members might need X-rays, check out this chart. It is based on information from the American Dental Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Who needs more frequent or regular X-rays?
Children and teenagers
Children and teens who have a history of many cavities may need X-rays every six months or every year, depending on age. So may those who have a high risk of decay for other reasons. X-rays also help to keep track of tooth development.
Adults with many fillings, crowns, bridges or other restorations
X-rays help the dentist find decay beneath your fillings and crowns or in new places.
People with periodontal (gum) disease
X-rays can reveal signs of bone loss. If this has happened, then you may need periodontal (gum) surgery.
People with dry mouth, also called xerostomia
Saliva helps keep your mouth and teeth healthy by regulating the acid levels (pH) in the mouth. In a dry mouth, the pH decreases. This causes the minerals in the teeth to break down, resulting in more cavities. Many medicines can cause dry mouth. It also can be a result of cancer treatment or a long-term disease.
Smoking increases the risk of bone loss around the teeth and periodontal disease.
Users of chewing tobacco
Chewing tobacco is sweetened with sugars and can lead to more cavities.