Digital radiography (digital x-ray) is the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. This technique uses an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) 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-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
Dental x-rays are essential, preventive, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental 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 may save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. Digital x-rays produce a significantly lower level of radiation compared to traditional dental x-rays. Not only are digital x-rays better for the health and safety of the patient, they are faster and more comfortable to take, which reduces your time in the dental office. Also, since the digital image is captured electronically, there is no need to develop the x-rays, thus eliminating the disposal of harmful waste and chemicals into the environment.
Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, we still take precautions to limit your exposure to radiation. These precautions include taking only those x-rays that are necessary, and using lead apron and thyroid shields to protect your body.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The frequency of dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. We will recommend necessary x-rays based upon a review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and your risk of disease.
A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series may be repeated at three to five year intervals. Bite-wing x-rays (cavity detecting x-rays of your back teeth) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are usually recommended once a year to detect new dental problems.