The ability for dentist and physicians to view clear digital x-ray images has greatly improved healthcare in the past 20 years. We use digital radiography technology (digital X-rays) to better detect, diagnose and monitor oral conditions. This system uses digital sensors to produce higher quality enhanced computer images of the entire oral cavity.
This enables the dentist to do the following:
- Reveal small hidden areas
- Viewed instantly on any computer screen
- Digital storage in electronic patient records
Dental X-rays are a useful diagnostic tool when helping your dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. X-rays should be taken depends on your present oral health, your age, your risk for disease and any symptoms of oral disease. Children may require X-rays more often than adults because their teeth and jaws are still developing and their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay than those of adults. We will review your history, examine your mouth and then decide whether or not you need X-rays.
If you are a new patient, the dentist may recommend X-rays to determine the present status of your oral health and have a baseline to help identify changes that may occur later. A new set of X-rays may be needed to help your dentist detect any new cavities, determine the status of your gum health or evaluate the growth and development of your teeth. If a previous dentist has any radiographs of you, your new dentist may ask you for copies of them. Ask both dentists to help you with forwarding your X-rays.
Dental X-ray exams are safe; however, they do require very low levels of radiation exposure, which makes the risk of potentially harmful effects very small. Dental X-ray tools and techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation and every precaution is taken to ensure that radiation exposure is As Low As Reasonable Achievable (the ALARA principle).
Lead Aprons and Collars
We utilize leaded aprons and collars to minimize exposure to nearby body parts. They should also be used whenever possible.
Are you pregnant? Make sure to tell your dentist. During your pregnancy, you may need to have X-rays taken as part of your treatment plan for a dental disease. Use of the leaded apron and thyroid collar will protect you and your fetus from radiation exposure. Dental X-rays do not need to be delayed if you are trying to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
Do you have questions about dental X-rays and children? Talk to your child’s dentist. Image Gently, a campaign designed to make conversations with dental and medical professionals easier, has developed this brochure to help answer some common questions you may have.