As you know, x-rays are to see through objects. Without them, we can only see the surface.
Many dental problems are painfree and unnoticable from the surface. Without x-rays, no dentist can guarantee your mouth is in good condition. Many problems can be seen visually, but would have been picked up earlier with x-rays. When you take your car for a service, do you want them to be checking things thoroughly or just giving them a tap and say it's all good?
We are exposed to radiation constantly, from our environment. One dental x-ray is only equivalent to 3 hours of life. It is insignificant. X-rays generally need to be taken only once every 2 years.
Things we can see from x-rays that might be missed visually are:
- Tooth decay
- Bone pathology (eg. cancer, cysts)
- Wisdom teeth
- Childrens' teeth development
- Gum disease
The dentist will not force you to take x-rays but it defeats the purpose of having a check up, if a thorough examination cannot be performed.