Digital radiography (Digital X-ray) uses an electronic sensor, instead of traditional x-ray film, to capture the x-ray image. The digital images are stored directly to a computer. Low dose digital x-rays have a number of advantages:
- Digital x-rays reduce patient radiation exposure by 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
- The image can be instantly viewed and enlarged, allowing us to detect problems easier and point them out to you.
- Digital x-rays do not require film processing, therefore eliminate the need for the disposal of harmful waste products and chemicals into the environment.
Why are X-rays necessary?
Dental x-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. They enable us to look at what is going on between teeth and under the gum. Dr. Victor uses 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
- Bone loss
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Decay between the teeth
- Developmental abnormalities
- 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. Studies have shown that the radiation exposure from traditional bitewing dental x-rays is about 1/100th of the amount of radiation obtained from natural sources in the US each year. Furthermore, digital x-rays produce 80-90% less 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, Dr. Victor still takes 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.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Dr. Victor only recommends X-rays that are medically and dentally necessary, based upon his review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease. If you are a new patient, Dr. Victor may recommend radiographs to determine the present status of the hidden areas of your mouth and to help analyze changes that may occur later. If you have had recent radiographs at your previous dentist, please ask to have the radiographs forwarded.
The schedule for needing radiographs at recall visits varies according to your age, risk for disease and signs and symptoms. Recent films may be needed to detect new cavities, or to determine the status of gum disease or for evaluation of growth and development.
For more information on dental radiographs, visit the American Dental Association’s website on x-rays.