Digital X-Rays

We welcome your concerns, encourage your questions, and strive to keep you informed about dental care. During my discussions with patients, a few have relayed their concerns about dental x-rays. Are x-rays necessary? Are they safe? I would like to address some of these concerns and share this information with you. 

Necessity. Dental x-rays are necessary for accurate diagnosis of many dental conditions. They allow dentists to detect decay and diseases of the mouth, bone, face and jaw that may not be visible during an oral examination. Because x-rays help us detect dental conditions early, they play an important role in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of dental problems. 

Safety. Modern equipment filters out unnecessary radiation and focuses the x-ray beam to the area of interest. High-speed x-ray or digital sensors and protective collars and aprons can further reduce a patient's exposure. With these safeguards in place, the small amount of radiation you are exposed to from dental x-rays generally represents a much smaller risk to your health than an undetected and untreated dental problem.

Digital radiography is the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. This technique uses an electronic sensor that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged helping the dentist and dental hygienist detect problems easier. Digital x-ras reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays. 

Dental x-rays may reveal: 

Abcesses or cysts, bone loss, cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, decay between the teeth, developmental abnormalities, poor tooth and root positions, problems inside a tooth or below the gum line, etc... 

How often should dental x-rays be taken? 

The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient's individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease. 

A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing x-rays are taken at check up visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.

Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage may save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!


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