Our office is proud to offer Digital x-rays, which are quickly becoming the standard in dental imaging. Digital x-rays allow the doctor to get a much better view of your teeth and potential dental conditions. The digital imaging software allows the doctor to see a number of different views of the tooth to gain a better understanding of the proper course of management. Digital x-rays provide a great benefit to the patient. Not only are they an excellent diagnostic tool, but they decrease radiation to the patient by over 80%.
Why Take X-rays and Are They Necessary Every Time I Have a Checkup?
Dental x-rays are necessary for complete and thorough diagnosis of your mouth and your general oral health. At our practice, we like to treat the “whole patient” and not just a tooth. Therefore, we like every new patient to have a Full Mouth Series of x-rays. X-rays are taken to detect a number of conditions or diseases in the mouth. The series will not only show teeth and cavities but health of the roots and nerves, cancer screening, anatomical evaluation, detecting missing and impacted teeth, and other dental anomalies. While we prefer to take x-rays twice a year, if you are generally in good health and have had routine dental care, chances are you may only need to have them once a year. Without x-rays, our diagnostic abilities are limited and problems can be missed. Because we care about maintaining your smile, dental X-rays are an indispensable adjunct to your clinical records. By taking them periodically, we safeguard your dental health, to detect any changes or conditions early-before they become big problems.
What Are You Looking For When You Read My Dental X-rays?
Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when your dentist examines your mouth. An X-ray examination may reveal:
- small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings);
- extent of decay present in teeth including involvement with the pulp (nerve)
- infections in the bone;
- periodontal (gum) disease;
- abscesses or cysts;
- developmental abnormalities;
- some types of tumors.
Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and unnecessary discomfort. It can detect damage to oral structures not visible during a regular exam. If you have a hidden tumor, radiographs may even help save your life.
Are all X-rays the Same?
Actually there are several types of X-rays that may be ordered by the dentist. The two most common are what are referred to as “bitewings” and “PAs”. Bitewings are cavity-detecting X-rays and a PA examines the roots. Other types of X-rays (called “Panoramic”) are taken by placing a larger film cassette near your face.
What About Radiation Safety?
Many people are apprehensive about x-rays; it’s a common question and we’re glad you are concerned. Radiation, in the amounts used to expose dental X-rays, is very small. A person is exposed to more radiation from a day in the sun or in front of the TV (for a year) than from routine dental X-rays! As a further advantage, we provide Digital x-rays which expose you to only a fraction of the radiation of traditional x-rays. For additional comfort we can protect patients with a lead apron to protect radiation-sensitive organs.
Then Why Do Dental Personnel Leave The Room When They Take My X-rays?
Because dental personnel take many films over the course of a year, they must take precautions against what is called “cumulative X-radiation.” The safest way to ensure this is for them to stand at least six feet from the X-ray unit for a brief fraction of a second when radiation is present.
What If I Think There’s A Chance I May Be Pregnant? Will X-rays Harm My Unborn Baby?
It’s true that embryonic tissues are very sensitive to X-radiation. If you are in the first trimester of pregnancy (the first 3 months) or think you may be pregnant, please tell us. We generally avoid taking films during this time unless you have a specific dental emergency. Once you are past the first trimester, if there is a reason for taking X-rays, we will take every precaution to protect you and your unborn baby from any harmful radiation.