Do I really need X-rays?

Taking a Panoramic X-Ray

X-rays are one of the best tools we currently have at our disposal to see beyond what our eyes can see. It means we can diagnose problems as well as potential issues and let you know before it becomes a larger issue.

We are preventative thinkers - so if there's something small, we'll let you know about it. If we see that your oral health needs improvements, we'll let you know about it. We operate as a full disclosure practice - so that you're aware of the health of your mouth and hopefully - so that you can do something about it before it gets to the stage of being unrepairable, costly, and/or invasive.

And x-rays really help with that!

As one example, can you as a patient, see what's going on between your teeth? Can you determine if there is a cavity developing in there - where the view is obstructed by neighbouring teeth? We sure can't - unless we use x-rays.

Also, can you see really tiny cavities that go very deep without X-rays? Most of the time, we're going to go with, 'No, it's not visible with the naked eye'! And if something like this goes untreated? Well, if it is a small-but-deep cavity, it could get deeper and deeper and one day, it could go all the way to the nerve. In which case, it might get really, really uncomfortable.

Our last example is - if you don't see the eruption of your wisdom teeth from x-rays and it's growing on a diagonal or even horizontal, can it still get infected? Can it still affect neighbouring teeth by boring holes into them or making them crooked? Yes, yes and yes! Wouldn't you rather have them identified early, then removed so you don't have to deal with these bad experiences of damaging neighbouring teeth and/or experiencing a painful infection?

We would! But don't get us wrong, we love a good preventative measure, but we're also careful about not overdoing it - that means we're not going to take x-rays every time we see you!

But you may be asked to take x-rays at your first visit with us during a Complete Oral Exam so that we can establish a baseline - what is your starting point. You may also be asked to take them every so often so that we can keep track of any progressive issues, identify new ones and/or check up on previous restorations. You may need special x-rays if you're doing a particular procedure. And depending on your personal susceptibility to getting dental problems, you may need them more frequently than someone else who isn't as susceptible to things like decay.

We offer digital x-ray technology at both of our offices, which exposes people to lower levels of radiation compared to traditional films. We also firmly believe that the benefits outweigh the risks in this case because it is a very powerful diagnostic tool. Finally, the radiation exposure from dental offices is near negligible when you compare it with the radiation you get from natural resources on a year to year basis. Check out the chart below.

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