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Digital x-rays

Digital radiography (digital X-ray) is the newest technology used to take dental X-rays. This method uses an electronic sensor (instead of X-ray film) that records and saves the digital image on a computer. This image can be immediately seen and magnified, helping the dentist and dental hygienist find problems more easily. Digital X-rays lower radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental X-rays. Dental X-rays are important, preventive, diagnostic tools that give valuable information not visible during a normal dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and correctly find hidden dental issues and recommend an accurate treatment plan. Without X-rays, problem areas can be missed.

Dental x-ray

Dental X-rays may show:

  • Infections or cysts.

  • Bone loss.

  • Cancerous and non-cancerous growths.

  • Cavities (decay) between the teeth.

  • Developmental issues.

  • Poor tooth and root positions.

  • Problems inside a tooth or under the gum line.

Panoramic xray

Are dental X-rays safe?

We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. Dental X-rays are generally considered safe with minimal radiation exposure. Modern equipment and techniques minimize radiation levels, making the risk negligible. Digital X-rays make 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 quicker and more comfortable to take, which reduces your time in the dental office. Also, since the digital image is taken electronically, there is no need to process the X-rays, thus avoiding 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, dentists still take necessary steps to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These steps include only taking those X-rays that are needed, and using lead apron shields to further reduce exposure. Pregnant women may defer non-urgent X-rays, and dentists tailor imaging to individual needs. Overall, when used responsibly, dental X-rays provide valuable insights for effective oral health care.

How often should dental X-rays be taken?

The need for dental X-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will advise necessary X-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease.

A full mouth series of dental X-rays is suggested for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing X-rays (X-rays of the upper and lower teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are suggested once or twice a year to find new dental problems.

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