So why take radiographs? The saying goes ” A pictures worth a thousands words” but sometimes they
But if we look at the radiograph below, it tells a different story.
If you look at the area encircled, you can see a dark shadow. This is decay. So while the tooth looks perfectly healthy from the outside, there is decay present under the enamel layer. This is a common pattern with decay. The layer below the enamel, dentine(think of it like an M&M, the hard shell is the enamel and the softer chocolate is the dentine)is broken down by the bacteria. Eventually the dentine will become so weak that it will no longer be able to support the enamel layer and the classic cavity or hole will appear in your mouth as the enamel caves in.
Left unchecked this would certainly have developed into pain and the tooth would have needed either a root treatment or extraction adding significantly to the cost and distress for the patient.
So why take radiographs? To look for things that the naked eye can’t always see. I advised routine radiographs to be taken every 18-24 months in routine cases but for younger patients and patients with a high decay rate this changes to every 12 months