Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dr. Rajan and our hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
Abscesses or cysts.
Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
Decay between the teeth.
Poor tooth and root positions.
Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
The following is an excerpt from Colgate regarding the safety of radiographs:
Radiation exposure associated with dentistry represents a minor contribution to the total exposure from all sources (about 0.2 percent). The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) has estimated that the mean effective radiation dose equivalent from all sources in the United States is 3.6 millisieverts (mSv) per year, with about 3 mSv of this dose from natural sources and about 0.6 mSv from manmade sources. The majority of manmade radiation exposure is medical-related. It is estimated that dental X-rays contribute approximately one percent of the total dose of exposure in health care settings.
Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body (including the thyroid) and using modern digital sensors that vastly exposure to radiation.
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 on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for 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 (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.