Ask for digital x-rays – they emit tiny amounts of radiation compared to conventional x-rays. At our office, we are in favor of x-ray use, not abuse.
There are many reasons for taking x-rays. Not only do they help us visualize decay, they are also used to determine bone levels and detect abscesses and growth discrepancies. I would compare x-ray usage with the concept of routine blood work. Their purpose is early detection and diagnosis of pathology.
Remember, most big, expensive, time-consuming, nerve-wracking procedures such as crowns, root canals, gum disease, and extractions started as a small spot on an x-ray that was never taken. Our office is equipped with both intraoral and extraoral digital x-rays.