How Often Should I Take Check-up X-Rays?


In this article, we're going to focus on routine x-rays done during dental examinations and check-ups. These are the x-rays that clinicians will suggest you update periodically during your cleaning/checkup appointments. Additional dental radiographs (e.g. periapicals, CBCT, etc) may be prescribed for various specific reasons, but we will focus on the frequency of routine x-rays in this article. There are 2 forms of routine radiographs which you may be familiar with:

Panoramic Radiograph

Bitewing Radiograph


Why do we take routine panoramic x-rays?

  • To assess dental development (eruption of adult teeth and wisdom teeth)

  • To diagnose abnormalities/pathologies of the craniofacial complex (head and skull area)

Why do we take routine bitewing x-rays?

  • To detect dental decay and other dental abnormalities

  • To monitor periodontal disease (gums and bone)


We use the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle when prescribing radiographs, for the purpose of limiting your exposure to ionising radiation. The idea is to maximise the diagnostic information provided by radiographs while minimising your exposure to radiation. Therefore, the frequency of your routine radiographs should take into consideration your risk profile for cavities, gum disease, and other factors which may compromise your oral health.

According to the ADA (American Dental Association), the guidelines for radiographs are as follows (as of 2012):


If you have never been to a dentist for a comprehensive examination, or have only seen dentists on emergency basis, then you will be considered a New Patient. 

For bitewings: 


For panoramic radiographs:


Conclusion: Radiography is associated with a radiation dose and this means that its use must be justified on an individual basis rather than used indiscriminately. see your dentist for individualised recommendations. know the justification for your x-rays.