The Role of Yearly X-Rays in the Prevention of Caries

The Importance of Yearly X-Rays for Prevention of Dental Caries

Introduction

Everyone has suffered or will suffer from dental caries at some point in their lives. Dental caries is actually the most common reason why we visit our dentists in the first place. So what is there to be done about this problem? When it comes to dental caries, we have to remind ourselves about how prevention is in actuality everything. There are numerous prevention methods, all developed over the past few years with one sole purpose – to prevent the occurrence and development of dental caries once and for all. But what is the best prevention method for dental caries? Washing our teeth regularly – yes, that habit has a great influence when it comes to this problem. But how about getting yearly x-rays in order to prevent dental caries from developing? Is this method truly effective? Are you perhaps worried about exposing yourself on radiation year by year just so you would be able to prevent dental caries? Will you be able to prevent getting affected by dental caries every again? Let’s find out, shall we?

What do you need to know about dental caries?

Dental caries is one of the oldest, most common oral diseases known to every man, woman, and child. Dental caries is an oral disease during which destruction [i]of the tooth enamel develops. And this is all due to the plaque of bacteria that gathers up and releases acids upon our teeth which eventually causes the tooth enamel to break down. Children account [ii]for around 50% of the disease, although adults and elderly as well have been diagnosed with dental caries often. Dentists blame our bad oral hygiene habits, unhealthy diets filled with sugars, caffeine and alcohol and our habit to skip our regular check-ins at the dentist’s office as the main reasons for the common occurrence of dental caries. The usual treatment involves removal of dental caries and tips how to take a better care of your oral health in order to prevent getting affected by dental caries ever again. However, although there are some pretty effective treatment methods that will remove every bit of dental caries off your teeth, researchers and dentists all around the world call on the importance of prevention when it comes to a problem such as dental caries is. Apart from taking a really good care of your oral hygiene, watching over your diet and getting your regular check-ins at your dentist’s office, there is something more that you can do and that is to make it a habit of yours to get yearly dental x-rays done in order to prevent dental caries.

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What is there to know about dental x-rays?

We are all familiar with the concept of x-rays. If you have ever dislocated your shoulder or perhaps your ankle, or if you were unfortunate enough to even break your leg or arm in the past, then you are very well acknowledged with the use of x-rays. The use of x-rays provides the chance for the doctor to determine where, how severe and of what kind is the injury that you have sustained. The dental x-rays serve a pretty similar task – to determine if there are any processes that are going on in the inside and outside of the teeth and gums and if so, how severe is the damage. Dental x-rays are the images that are used to help your dentist to determine and evaluate your oral health. Dental x-rays use a small amount of radiation to take pictures of your teeth and gums. Dental x-rays are just as important as cleansing your teeth if you want to have good oral health which is free of dental caries. Children, adults and older people are all supposed to get yearly dental x-rays, the only exception to this rule are pregnant women who are not supposed to undergo a procedure such as this one being exposed to even the slightest amount of radiation during their pregnancy. Other than pregnant women, the dental x-rays are a safe preventive and diagnostic method for people of all ages – from little children to adults.

Yearly dental x-rays and their role in the prevention of dental caries

While good oral hygiene, healthy diet and regular check-ups at the dentist’s office are the three major prevention [iii]steps for dental caries, recently, dentists all around the world have been talking about the importance of getting yearly dental x-rays in order to prevent dental caries for ever developing. Yearly dental x-rays have been found to pose as an effective [iv]prevention method for caries, enabling the dentist to see any present and hidden tooth decay – which is the process of destruction of the tooth enamel. By getting yearly dental x-rays done, your dentist will be able to detect any trace of tooth decay and any other hidden oral diseases which might come from the inside and show symptoms when there is a severe damage done to your teeth. If you are worried about the cost of getting yearly x-rays down – do not be, because, in most countries, dental x-rays are a part of your health insurance. Some patients worry about the radiation that they are exposed to when it comes to radiographic imaging. In the case of dental x-rays, the amount of radiation is quite small, so you do not have to worry about being exposed to radiation every year when you get your yearly dental x-rays done. As we mentioned before, only pregnant women are not supposed to sustain even the slightest radiation that comes from the use of dental x-rays. Yet, they can, of course, get their yearly dental x-rays done before and after their pregnancy which will account for yearly x-rays and achieve the same results and benefits. The dental x-rays are especially recommended [v]for children, due to their common exposure to dental caries. That is of course, because of their common intake of sweets and artificial sugars. An interval of one year is the perfect period of time between each dental x-rays in order to prevent dental caries among children.

Getting prepared for dental x-rays

The first step toward getting prepared for dental x-rays is scheduling your visit at the dentist’s office. You and your dentist can, once again, discuss the steps of the procedure and ask any questions that you would like to get answers to. The use of dental x-rays is a safe, non-invasive procedure that as we mentioned before, can be used among people of all ages. No special preparation is needed. Dental x-rays usually do not take much time and as we said before, in most cases, they are covered by your health insurance.

Conclusion

Dental caries should be taken more seriously, although, often it is not. Dentists should remind their patients of the importance of taking a good care of their oral health and getting yearly dental x-rays in order to prevent this problem. Not only that, yearly dental x-rays can discover much more than tooth decay and the beginning stages of dental caries. They can go as far as discovering any processes that happen on the inside of the teeth without you ever knowing and experiencing any symptoms until the damage is too big to be repaired. Everyone should schedule their yearly dental x-rays and allow this effective method to discover everything that there is to know about the patient’s oral health. Prevention is the key when it comes to dental caries. Think about this safe, inexpensive method that can save you from all that time spent at the dentist’s office, stress, pain, and money that we all know the dental caries cost. Make it a new habit of yours to schedule your yearly dental x-rays and you will never have to worry about dental caries again!

References

[i] Featherstone JD, (2008), Dental caries: a dynamic disease process, Australian Dental Journal 53(3):286-91
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18782377

[ii] Winter GB, (1990), Epidemiology of dental cavites, Archives of oral biology 35 Suppl:1S-7S
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2088212

[iii] Lee S, (2013), Diagnosis and prevention strategies for dental caries, Journal of Lifestyle Medicine 3(2): 107–109
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4390741/

[iv] Evans RW, Pakdaman A, Denninson PJ, Howe ELC, (2008), The caries menagment system: an evidence-based preventive strategy for dental practicioners. Application for adults, Australian Dental Journal 53: 83–92
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1834-7819.2007.00004.x
e

[v] Steiner M, Buhlmann S, Menghini G, Imfeld C, Imfeld T, (2011), Caries risks and appropriate intervals between bitewing x-rays examinations in schoolchildren, Schweizer Montasschrift fur Zahnmedizin 121(1):12-24
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21318913

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