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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