X-rays are just one of the amazing tools we can use to learn about the history of a person's teeth, the current condition of their teeth and the prognosis of these teeth. It also helps us assess the health of your gums and whether you would make a good candidate for certain dental procedures or not. They allow us to look beyond what our eyes can see - and may be one of the more powerful inventions we have access to in modern medicine.
While we've gone digital with our x-ray technology which minimizes exposure to radiation, we still occasionally have individuals concerned about the risks associated with taking dental x-rays.
At ALFIE Dentistry, you could expect to take a full set of x-rays when we do a Complete Oral Exam. Obviously, if you have taken them fairly recently at another office and want to transfer them over, we may be able to use your existing ones. Depending on which type of x-rays you have, how old they are, how good/bad the quality of these ones are, or if there's an urgent situation, you may need to have new ones taken. We always take it on a case-by-case basis, so the only way we'll know how many images we'd need is when you're in the dental chair.
From there, once you become a regular at ALFIE, you should be happy to know that routine radiographs at our office are flexible and aren't set by a specific timespan. How often we'd recommend x-rays will depend on a person's individual susceptibility to dental problems, the treatments that are planned and of course, any emergency dental situations that may come up - like injuries or accidents. Once conditions are stable, then we may recommend having x-rays once in a while so that we can keep track of changes to your dental health as well as to help us identify any new issues that may come up.
Having said that, you'll see that we're fairly conservative with taking x-rays - so we've got your back when it comes to minimizing radiation exposure.
In addition to using digital technology and reducing frequency of taking x-rays, dental radiographs also expose you to lower radiation levels when you put it into perspective.
Natural radiation in the atmosphere exposes you to about 3000-4000 µSv every year.
A Panoramic x-ray gives off no more than 24.5 µSv - which is the x-ray of your full mouth and is taken once every 3-5 years at our office.
Four bitewing x-rays (the smaller dental xray images that show upper and lower teeth on the sides of your mouth) gives off roughly 22.8 µSv. And it's important to note that some of our smiling stars have smaller jaws, and they won't need all four images.
We occasionally take a Cephalometric x-ray for some people who are planning for orthodontic treatment and these ones expose a person to about 5.6 µSv.
So, as you can see for yourself, dental x-ray radiation really is minimal and if you were interested in reviewing what you can gain from taking x-rays (and how they really outweigh the potential risks of having x-rays done), feel free to visit one of our older blog posts here. And if we piqued your interest about digital dentistry, specifically, read more about that here.
Photo from Freepik.