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Dentists in Oregon adhere to "Standard of Care," meaning the standard that would be exercised by a reasonably prudent professional in a line of work. According to the Oregon Board of Dentistry, it is below the standard of care in Oregon to treat a patient who has refused to take x-rays unless there is documented medical justification for refusal. 


Why are X-rays Important?

Dental x-rays are a necessary component of the patient record in order to detect damage and disease that's not visible during a routine exam. 

How often do I have to take x-rays? How many x-rays do I need?

For an overall view of all of the teeth, our office usually requires a full-mouth series of x-rays (18 films) on our adult (>18 yrs) patients during the first visit, and every 3-5 years after.  We update the x-ray records (6 films) at yearly intervals. The number of x-rays required for children varies with age.

I'm new to your office and I just had x-rays taken at my previous office, do I still need to take x-rays on my first visit?

If you are transferring to our office, you may request x-rays taken within the last year be sent to our office and we can evaluate whether more x-rays are necessary at your first appointment. 

What about radiation from x-rays? Are they safe?

The American Dental Association affirms that although dental x-rays require a low dose of radiation, the diagnostic benefits of the image outweigh the low-risks from radiation. Every precaution is taken to prevent unnecessary exposure, including utilizing a lead apron. We also utilize digital xray technology which greatly reduces the radiation exposure required to image your teeth. Please let someone in the dental team know if you are pregnant so that extra precautions can be taken. 

What are the different types of x-rays?


These x-rays show the interproximal surfaces of the back teeth in order to diagnose caries in between the teeth. 


Periapical (PA):

A PA shows the entire tooth, including the root and crown, as well as the surrounding bone structure. This film can aid in diagnosing abcesses or root caries.



This image helps show dental development, including the surrounding facial structures of the teeth. A panoramic may be necessary if you are thinking about braces or removing your wisdom teeth.



This image is useful for assessing growth and dental/facial relationships. This x-ray is usually taken during orthodontic treatment.