Let’s establish that radiographs are a necessary part of good patient care.  Since we can only see about one-third of the actual tooth, radiographs provide valuable information that we cannot visualize.  Most dentists want to have bitewings on every patient once a year.  It can vary among patients as some have a healthy periodontium and do not need radiographs as often as patients with a history of periodontitis.  The ususal concerns expressed by patients are fear of radiation, cost, and discomfort.  Fear of radiation – although X-ray  machines vary, the amount of actual radiation is anywhere from .1 to .5 of a second for one exposure – which is extremely small.  Digital radiography is even lower than that.  The amount of radiation is extremely small due to the fast-speed film (or digital technology) we use.  All dentists should follow the ALARA principal (as low as reasonably achievable) when determining what X-rays to order.  These pictures provide us with valuable information about things we cannot see under the gums, under fillings, and in between your teeth.  In some cases, there are extenuating circumstances that make exposing radiographs prudent, such as implants, endodontics, and pathology.