All About Dental X-Rays
If you visit your dentist regularly, you probably receive a dental X-ray every few visits. And X-rays are a key tool in your DentArana dentists’ toolbox. Dental X-rays are very useful in diagnosing oral issues and determining what is happening below the surface of your gums.
Still, X-rays do use radiation, so you most likely have wondered exactly how useful and safe X-rays are? Well, DentArana is here to provide the answers you’re looking for!
Read on to discover everything you need to know about dental X-rays.
What Are Dental X-Rays?
Dental X-rays are 2D images that allow the inspection of the bones and tooth structure in your mouth below the surface of your gums and enamel. There are two types of dental X-rays: film and digital. Digital is pushing film aside as it is quicker and more efficient. Digital X-rays emit about 80% less radiation than film X-rays, take less time, and is are easier to store and access.
For these reasons, at DentArana we exclusively use digital X-rays.
Dental X-rays can either be intraoral or extraoral. Intraoral X-rays take an image from inside the mouth, while extraoral X-rays, take an image from outside the mouth, typically around the jaw area. Intraoral X-rays reveal fine tooth details and the state of their supporting bones. This allows indentification of cavities, tooth development, root health, and the tooth’s anchoring to the jaw bone.
Extraoral X-rays focus more on the larger bony structures of the head, particularly the upper and lower jaw. Extraoral X-rays allow identification of issues including impacted teeth, monitoring of jaw joint health and development, and assessing fractures or breaks clearly.
Why Do I Need Regular Dental X-Rays?
Despite our mirrors and bright lights, DentArana cannot see everything in your mouth. X-rays can uncover damage to teeth and the bone supporting teeth that would be invisible during a visual examination. In fact, nearly 50% of cavities are diagnosed through X-rays.
Dental X-rays reveal the condition of your teeth, roots, jaw placement, and facial bones. Dental X-rays also reveal cavities, abscesses, and abnormal growths like cysts and tumors.
What do X-rays mean for you? They can save you time, pain, and money. If you have an undiscovered tumor, X-rays can save your life. That makes holding still for a few seconds in a dental chair a pretty small price to pay!
How Often Do I Need To Get A Dental X-Ray?
DentArana avoids unnecessary dental X-rays to be sure that our patients are not exposed to more radiation than necessary. If you are in good oral health and DentArana does not suspect any dental issues that need monitoring, it is normal to receive a set of dental X-rays once every two to three years. With that said, X-rays are ordered on a case-by-case basis to be certain that you are receiving the dental care most appropriate for you. If you suffer from cavities, tooth root problems, gingivitis, gum disease, or concerns about jaw, you may receive additional X-rays deemed necessary to keep your oral health in optimal shape.
How Much Radiation Am I Exposed To During A Dental X-Ray?
By design, modern X-ray technology minimizes the amount of radiation that patients receive.
But, how much is ‘minimal’?
Radiation received by the human body is measured in “Sieverts”. The technical measurement of one full set of digital X-rays is approximately 0.005 mSv, or Millisievert, which is less radiation than you would be exposed to on a short airplane ride. In fact, the amount of radiation emitted from a round of digital X-rays is less than the amount of radiation we are exposed to in one day naturally, from the sun, the Earth, and various technologies we use daily.
And you might be surprised at the many ways we are subject to radiation. Even bananas emit a tiny amount of radiation! About 1 microSievert – so you’d have to eat nearly a million bananas to absorb a dangerous amount of radiation!
To maximize patient safety DentArana carefully records your X-rays and the estimated cumulative radiation dose you have received. In this way we make certain that our patients are never exposed to unnecessary or unhealthy amounts of radiation.
So, the good news is that the radiation from dental x-rays comes in such small amounts that there is little to no health risk from have them performed at appropriate intervals.
Talk To Your Dentist
It is always your choice to receive dental X-rays or not, so if you have any concerns or questions, be sure to talk about them with your DentArana dentist.
Dentarana Is Your Oral Health Partner In Arana Hills
DentArana provides Family Dentistry in Arana Hills. Our goal is to make quality dental care affordable, and help you achieve maximum oral and overall health! We offer late and Saturday hours!