X-RAY REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW PATIENT EXAM
There are two different kinds of x-rays that dental offices may take, Full Mouth (Intra Oral) X-Rays and a Panoramic (Extra Oral) X-Ray. The full mouth series of x-rays consists of 16 to 20 individual x-rays of the mouth that are detailed, individual x-rays of the teeth for proper diagnoses of cavities, bone pathology, etc. A panorex x-ray is one x-ray taken from outside of the mouth. This x-ray helps to show bone placement and tooth location, but does not necessarily show clear indication of cavities or decay. This x-ray would be needed primarily by an oral surgeon (for wisdom teeth removal or implant placement) or an orthodontist (determining tooth positioning).
General dentistry requires a Full Mouth Series of x-rays taken either by this office (as part of our new patient exam) or from a previous dental office. We typically require that the full mouth series be taken every three to five years, depending on your dental conditions. If you have insurance, most will pay benefits every three or five years, depending upon your plan.
FULL MOUTH SERIES OF X-RAYS:
(REQUIRED FOR GENERAL DENTISTRY)
A full mouth series of x-rays is required on the day of your new patient exam for proper assessment of your dental health. If you already had a recent full mouth x-ray taken at at another office and is recent and of good diagnostic quality, then we may use it during your patient exam. The only x-rays that will be required are bite wings (see picture example below) if you have not had them within the past 6 months.
Panoramic (Panorex) X-RAY:
(NOT DIAGNOSITIC FOR GENERAL DENTISTRY)
While a Panoramic X-Ray is an easier film to take, it is not diagnostic for general dentistry because it does not provide an accurate image of cavities or decay between your teeth. As you can see, the teeth are not as well detailed as the full mouth x-ray shown above.
BITE-WING X-RAYS (check-up x-rays):
These types of x-rays are usually taken during your cleaning appointments once or twice a year according to your dental conditions. These x-rays allow us to see cavities that may be located between your teeth.
Children 12 and younger usually only have bite wings taken. When you have all of your permanent teeth in place or problems are noted, then a full mouth series are taken.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding X-Rays
American Dental Association
Health Physics Society
British Dental Health Foundation