Dental radiography has gone a long way from traditional dental x-rays that used to bring concerns regarding exposure to radiation. Digital radiography, more commonly referred to as digital x-ray, significantly reduces radiation by 89 to 90 percent when compared to the already low intensity of traditional dental x-rays.
Instead of using x-ray films, digital radiography works with an electronic sensor that captures and stores digital images into a computer. There’s no need to wait for x-ray films to develop as the images can be viewed right away. Moreover the images can be enlarged for easier detection of dental problems and issues.
Digital dental x-rays are crucial to the detection of tooth and gum damage or oral disease which might not be visible in a standard dental examination. Modern-day dental practitioners opt for digital x-rays for a thorough assessment of a patient’s oral health and to obtain vital information needed for the diagnosis of dental issues and abnormalities. With digital x-rays, a proper treatment program can be arrived at more easily and accurately.
Certain dental problems can go undetected. Dental x-rays can reveal the following:
Early detection and treatment of dental issues can save you a lot of time and money, not to mention the needless discomfort often associated with teeth problems.
Is it safe to have dental x-rays?
The level of radiation emitted by digital x-rays is significantly lower than traditional x-rays. Hence, they are a lot safer for the patient. Digital x-rays also reduce the time patients spend at a dental clinic. Unlike traditional x-ray films that need some time to develop, digital images are captured electronically and can be viewed instantly. They’re also done faster and are more comfortable for the patient.
Digital x-rays are also friendlier to the environment since no harmful chemicals or waste materials need to be disposed of. Nevertheless, necessary precautions still have to be undertaken even with the low level of radiation associated with digital x-rays. The use of thyroid collars and protective aprons is encouraged to protect the body and minimize radiation exposure. Dental x-rays must also be conducted only when necessary.
How often can one have dental x-rays?
It depends on a patient’s age, oral health condition and dental health needs. A dentist and a dental hygienist will first conduct a dental exam and review you medical and dental history to assess your risk for disease. They will also check for any symptoms and indications of oral disease that you may be experiencing.
It is recommended that new patients have a full mouth series of dental x-rays which is usually good for three to five years. Images of the top and bottom teeth biting together called bite-wing x-rays are recommended once or twice yearly during follow-up visits to determine if there are other newer dental issues.