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) to capture and store the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged, helping the dentist and dental hygienist detect problems more easily.
Dental X-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam.
Simply put, without X-rays, problem areas can go undetected. Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort … and your teeth!
What do dental x-rays 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
Are dental X-rays safe?
The short answer? Yes. Digital X-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental X-rays.
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! 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, our office still takes necessary precautions to limit our patients’ 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?
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 regular check-up visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.