Digital radiography is one of the most important new advances that our profession has seen in quite some time. The capability to reduce the exposure of radiation to the patient while increasing our diagnostic proficiency has astounding implications. The reduction of the use of harsh chemicals and other waste materials associated with traditional radiography is also an added benefit to our environment.
This technique uses a digital sensor (instead of a radiographic film) which records and stores digital images on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged to help the dentist and dental hygienist to more easily detect problems. Digital radiography reduces radiation by 80 to 90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
Dental X-rays are essential preventive and diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible to the naked eye during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use it to accurately detect and safely hidden dental abnormalities and to determine a specific treatment plan. Without radiographs, problems can go unnoticed.
Radiographic images can reveal:
Abscesses or cysts
Cancerous and non-cancerous lesions
Tooth decay between teeth
The bad position of the teeth and roots
Problems inside of the teeth or under the gums
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time and money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. Digital radiography produces a significantly lower level of radiation compared to traditional dental radiography. Not only digital radiography is best for the health and safety of the patient, but it is faster and more comfortable, reducing your time to visit the dental office. Also, since the digital image is stored electronically, it is not necessary to develop X-ray film, eliminating waste and hazardous chemicals to the environment.
Although dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe, the dentist takes the necessary precautions to limit the patient's exposure to radiation. These precautions include a lead apron to protect the body and taking x-rays as needed places.
How often should the dental radiographs be made?
The need for dental x-rays depends on individual patient needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays to your dental and medical history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age and the risk of disease.
A series of dental radiographs full mouth is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bitewing radiographs (x-ray of upper and lower teeth closed) are taken during examinations and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.