Do you know that there are many beneficial uses of radiation? One type of radiation, x-rays, are used extensively in the medical and dental professions to diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions. Dentists gain valuable information from x-rays to aid in keeping teeth healthy.
Dental X-Rays Show Hidden Problems
Dental x-rays are pictures of the teeth, bones and soft tissues around them to help find problems with the teeth, mouth and jaw. Dental x-rays can show cavities, hidden dental structures, like wisdom teeth, and bone loss that cannot be detected during a visual exam.
Intraoral x-rays are the most common type of dental x-ray taken. These x-rays provide detail and allow your dentist to find cavities, check the health of the tooth root and bone surrounding the tooth, check developing teeth in children, and monitor the general health of your teeth and jawbone.
Dental X-Rays Are Safe
Dental x-rays are safe, however, the x-rays do require very low levels of radiation exposure, which makes the risk of potentially harmful effects very small. The dosage of x-ray radiation received by a dental patient is typically 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 reasonably achievable. Most conventional dental x-ray machines use high speed film, which reduces your exposure to radiation. Incidental exposure is further reduced by the use of a lead shield apron, sometimes with a lead thyroid collar.
Minor Radiation Exposure With Dental X-Rays
Radiation exposure associated with dental x-rays represents a minor contribution to the total exposure from all sources. The dosage is equivalent to a few days’ worth of background environmental radiation exposure or the same amount of radiation exposure from a 1-2 hour airplane flight. In general, dental x-rays emit lower levels of radiation than other medical x-rays.
Dental x-rays are a useful diagnostic tool when helping your dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. How often x-rays should be taken depends on your present oral health, your age, your risk for disease and any signs or symptoms of oral disease.