Digital radiography (digital x-ray) is the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. This technique uses a comfortable, thin phosphorus coated wafer (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 more than 90% compared to the traditional dental x-rays.
Dental x-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible to the naked eye. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and can only then derive an accurate treatment plan.
At our office, we take full mouth x-rays (FMX), which allows for the proper diagnosis of the anterior (front) and posterior (back) teeth as well as proper diagnosis of proximal (in between the teeth) decay. The FMX also allows us to diagnose for Periodontal Disease by evaluating the health of your supporting bone structure.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
Abscesses or cysts.
Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
Decay between the teeth.
Infection of the tooth / necrotic nerve.
Infection of the gums and its supporting bone (Periodontal Disease)
Poor tooth and root positions.
Without x-rays, serious problem areas can go undetected. Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and most of all your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment on a daily basis. At times more so than even traditional x-rays. 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 also 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, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary, and using lead apron shields to protect the body from the rays of 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 upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease.
A full mouth x-rays is recommended for new patients. Our office requires full mouth x-rays for all new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years, depending on your personal insurance policy's coverage. Bitewing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at check-up visits and are recommended once a year to detect new dental problems. It is crucial to stay up-to-date on these bitewing x-rays because it allows Aileen and Dr. Milt to see beyond what is visible to the naked eye. This allows us to stay on top of your oral health and keep your smile looking healthy and radiant!