Dental radiographs (x-rays) are a vital diagnostic tool that enables dental professionals to detect problems not always visible during a clinical (visual) exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use radiographs in addition to other tools to complete an accurate, comprehensive treatment plan.
Clear Images Immediately
At our Oakland dental office, we have invested in digital x-rays, because of the many benefits they provide. With digital radiography, we can present you with large, clear, and accurate images of your smile immediately, and we can easily display them on a monitor right next to your chair for easy reference during your appointment. What’s more, the process of taking x-rays with digital technology is faster and simpler, allowing us to put our energy and focus on delivering exceptional care.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Bone loss
- Decay between teeth
- Developmental abnormalities, such as congenitally missing teeth
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Problems within a tooth or supporting bone
Safety of Dental Radiographs
We are all exposed to natural radiation from the sun and various other environmental sources. The amount of radiation exposure for a full mouth series (usually 14 to 18 films) is equal to the amount of radiation a person receives in a single day from natural sources. That amount is even less with digital x-rays, which exposes patients to 50-90% less radiation than traditional x-rays. Your exposure will also be limited by a lead apron.
Digital x-rays are also friendlier for the environment. They don’t need to be developed with any dark room chemicals, and we can store them on our computer instead of filing them away on paper. They can also be easily reproduced for insurance purposes, referrals, or teaching you about your health and your treatment options.
How Often Should Dental Radiographs Be Taken?
A patient's individual need for dental radiographs depends on each patient's dental health, based upon a combination of factors including medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary radiographs based on your individual needs. A full mouth series, usually 14 to 18 films, is recommended for new patients and is taken at 3 intervals. Bitewing x-rays, (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together), are taken at most routine visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new decay between teeth.