Taking x-rays usually involves placing a bulky plastic contraption in your mouth that makes you feel queasy. So anytime the dentist says it’s time for x-rays, it’s no wonder you shudder in dread.
But x-ray technology is actually a cornerstone of high-standard dental care. Your mouth is a very small place to work in, and there’s no way to safely see what’s going on inside individual teeth. So far, x-rays are the only way to get a close-up and clear picture of teeth and surrounding bone.
Here are some ways x-rays prove to be such important tools for your dentist.
X-rays will help your dentist detect the following long before you may notice:
Regularly checking your teeth for signs of trouble will help your dentist make an early diagnosis and start treatment, if needed. The sooner you find out about any of these sneaky problems, the cheaper, faster, and more conservative your treatment is likely to be.
You can’t dig a foundation for a new home without knowing what’s in the ground underneath. Likewise, your dentist can’t drill-and-fill blindfolded. Without x-rays, that’s exactly what he or she would be doing!
An x-ray or two would help your dentist get an idea of what’s going on inside your mouth before placing a filling, crown, or dental implant.
Periodic x-rays for kids reveal the position of adult teeth before they arrive. This way, you can plan ahead for your child’s orthodontic needs.
Talk with your dentist for more information on x-ray necessity and safety.
Posted on behalf of:
Dental Care Center At Kennestone
129 Marble Mill Rd NW
Marietta, GA 30060
X-rays have been an integral part of the dental appointment for many years. But for almost as long their use in dentistry has been hotly debated. A lot of folks feel that x-rays are unnecessary.
X-Rays: Worth the Risk?
X-rays are a two-edged sword. This technology allows you and your dentist a glimpse into your dental health that would be impossible, otherwise. Controlled doses of radiation will help you detect and treat problems before they get out of control.
How Much Radiation Exposure Should You Have?
Radiation is encountered in many everyday situations. It comes from the sun and we are exposed to traces of it in the soil and in household appliances – or even riding in an airplane. You don’t get much more radiation from routine dental x-rays. But large cumulative doses could lead to problems like cancer.
That’s why it’s so important to limit how much radiation you are exposed to when you have the choice.
Dental x-rays are necessary for diagnosing problems in the mouth. How many x-rays you have, though, should be kept to as few as possible. Each machine has adjustable settings according to a person’s size.
A few safety precautions help your dental team limit the amount of radiation you receive from x-rays:
Call your local dental office to find out their x-ray protocol. Ask about the steps they take to protect the patient from unnecessary radiation. Get the facts in advance because your next dental appointment may very likely include x-rays!
Posted on behalf of :
Prime Dental Care
417 Wall St
Princeton, NJ 08540
If you’re like the majority of dental patients, you have asked (or thought of asking) your dentist why you need to have dental x-rays taken so “frequently.” Although it may seem like it’s literally every dental visit, it’s more like once a year that your dentist has these films taken, and for a good reason. Your dentist uses them as a key diagnostic tool when screening for disease and diagnosing dental problems. Depending on the type of x-ray taken, it may be taken more or less frequently.
X-rays show your dentist if there is decay between the teeth.
Even the most thorough dental exam won’t be able to spot tooth decay that forms between teeth or under an existing filling. X-rays capture images of these areas, showing the dentist when the earliest forms of decay are starting, allowing treatment to be less invasive.
X-rays screen for abnormalities and disease in the bone.
Periodontal disease, bone loss, and osteonecrosis need to be identified as early on as possible, preventing complications such as tooth loss. Only x-rays can show the quantity and levels of bone in the mouth.
There are some things that just can’t be seen during a clinical exam.
Whether it’s a missing tooth, impacted tooth, sinus complication or a disorder of the TMJ, your dentist sometimes needs to see “through” and deeper into the anatomy of your mouth, head, and neck. In fact, many newer forms of digital x-ray machines now also serve to function as 3-D CT scans!
Thanks to digital radiography, the radiation levels on dental x-rays went from very low to even lower levels of radiation. In fact, you get more radiation from being out in the sun for a few hours than you do from a set of dental x-rays. The convenience and safety of x-rays is something that’s definitely not worth turning down at your next dental check-up.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Scott Merritt, BridgeMill Dentistry
Many people understand why dental x-rays are a routine part of their preventive care appointment. After all, then enable dental practitioners to identify developing dental diseases like bone loss, dental abscesses, early tooth decay and many others in order to provide care at an earlier point in time. Early intervention to dental decay reduces the extent that the tooth needs to be treated, and keeps treatment costs minimal as well.
However, many patients are highly concerned with the safety in regard to exposure to the x-ray beams, and rightly so. In this modern day in age we are exposed to many different environments so we want to be sure we are protecting our health in the best way possible.
The x-rays used in a dental office use only minimal amounts of radioactive waves. Patients experience far more radiation from exposure to the sun in a single day than they do by having a set of dental x-rays taken. The only reason that dental staff leave the room during your x-ray exposure is because they can be exposed to cumulative radiation throughout time due to the number of patients they are taking films on. The benefits of dental x-rays far outweigh the risk of any minimal exposure that might occur.
If your office utilizes digital x-rays, you are receiving up to 90% less radiation than if they use traditional film technology. Because the digital technology is much more sensitive, it allows a lower dose of radiation to be used in order to recreate the same image. They’re also more convenient for referrals to specialists, attaching to claims for insurance purposes, or analyzing the findings with the patients.
Routine dental x-rays allow your dentist and hygienist to evaluate areas that are not visible during a clinical examination. Some things that your dentist looks for on routine x-rays include:
Conditions such as bone loss, tartar buildup and tooth decay may not be visible when looking directly at the teeth. It is important to diagnose these conditions early on so that proactive measures can be taken to prevent the further advances of dental disease. When early care is taken, it enables your dentist to treat the problem while it is still small and inexpensive. Delaying much needed dental care enables the disease condition to progress into something that is more invasive and costly when it comes to corrective care.
When left untreated, some conditions can lead to tooth loss and the complication of other systemic health conditions. Routine x-rays enable your dentist to provide proactive care when conditions first arise. Most dental offices now use digital X-rays which are easier to use and store and can be easily shared with a specialist.
Not all x-rays are the same. Different types of films are taken in order to view different angles of the mouth and teeth, and may not show anatomy that another does.
Below are the most common films taken in a dental office:
Panoramic x-rays – Enable your dentist to evaluate the eruption and formation of the permanent teeth, including wisdom teeth.
Bitewing x-rays – Used primarily to screen for decay and bone loss.
Periapical x-rays – Include the root tip for diagnosis of abscess, or when treating specific teeth.
Occlusal x-rays – Used to evaluate the development of the anterior permanent teeth.
Dental x-rays are very important because they help dentists to monitor and diagnose treatment needs between the teeth and below the gumlines. Otherwise these areas are out of the range of vision and could allow decay or gum disease to harbor until it was far too late.
While dental x-rays are already safe and use low doses of radiation, digital x-rays use far less radiation than traditional films. In fact, digital films require about 80% less radiation exposure than traditional dental x-rays. Even though exposure is very low, we also use additional personal protective equipment such as lead aprons with a collar to shield patient’s vital organs and thyroid gland.
Appointments time becomes more efficient with digital x-rays, because the images are viewable almost immediately as they are integrated into the office software system. This means there is less time waiting between taking the films and the examination, because no process time is needed.
Your dentist will share your digital x-rays with you during the appointment to help diagnose your treatment needs and allow you to further understand the treatment process. Because the copies are soft, they can also easily be submitted along with insurance claims or when making referrals between offices.
Routine bitewing x-rays are taken about every 12 months, while full mouth series of films are taken ever 3-5 years. These timelines are based on the ADA standard of care and allow dentists to appropriately monitor dental health. Sometimes one or more x-rays may be needed on specific teeth for diagnosis or treatment needs. Each type of x-ray is angled in a different manner to target specific viewpoints.
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