A lot of patients are worried about having dental x-rays taken on an annual basis. They are fearful that since they have had medical x-rays taken recently, the additional dental x-rays will cause some sort of a medical problem. First, a complete series of 16-20 dental x-rays emits as much radiation as does one hour in the sun. Most dental offices now offer digital x-rays which produce 1/10 the radiation that the old style x-rays produced. Also, if x-rays are not taken, only about 50% of the tooth structure can be examined for problems. Without the help of x-rays, you are asking your dentist to work with one hand behind his/her back. And without x-rays you will probably have to contend with bigger dental problems when they can be seen by eye.