Dental X-Rays

A Little Ray Goes a Long Way

Almost everyone associates a visit to the dentists with receiving x-rays. And despite some exaggerated radiation exposure concerns, the procedure is a safe, helpful means of viewing the inside of your teeth and accompanying oral structures. In fact, the high-speed film used means that minimal ionizing radiation is passed along to the patient — less than what you’d naturally be exposed to in the atmosphere during about an eight-week period. Of course, our staff removes themselves when taking x-rays to avoid compounding the effect of the many thousands of doses to which they’re exposed during the course of a dental career.

Dental radiographs or x-rays provide us with valuable information because while the rays are absorbed by the denser parts of your mouth (i.e. teeth and bone), prior to striking an image on specially prepared radiographic film. Thus, we can see what’s going on underneath your teeth and gums, between your teeth, under worn-out fillings and crowns, and around receding bone levels or abscesses. Film packets both inside and outside of your mouth capture this information, revealing cavities and gum disease as dark places on the white teeth and bone images. Not only do x-rays help us troubleshoot dental problems, but they document your dental health status, establishing a baseline from which to monitor changes over time.

The Digital X Ray Advantage

Digital x-rays are an extremely progressive addition to our dental office. Digital x-rays are computer generated images. These images require up to 90% less radiation than with conventional film type x-rays. Instead of using the traditional silver-oxide x-ray film that must be developed and then fixed in caustic and environmentally damaging solutions, the new system takes pictures via a small electronic sensor and it then instantaneously transmits a picture of the tooth onto the video monitor in the treatment room. Therefore, we can see your teeth and surrounding structures immediately. Not only does the new digital x-ray eliminate the usual wait for x-ray film to be processed, but it also is highly sensitive, so that patients are exposed to even less radiation than with conventional x-rays.

Reduced Radiation Teeth X Ray, Radical Results

Traditionally, dentists used X-rays to see what the naked eye could not; X-rays were developed in a darkroom with hazardous chemicals, and then viewed on a special light board. The developed X-rays had to be stored, which required large filing systems. By far, the worst part of traditional X-rays was the radiation exposure to patients. Digital radiography has completely transformed this process.

Now, when you come into the office for X-rays, a small sensor is placed in your mouth instead of film. These new sensors use up to 90% less radiation than traditional film-based -rays. This creates a detailed image of your internal oral structures that is immediately viewable on a chairside monitor, carrying with it all the conveniences of other digitized images. We can rotate and magnify it, adjust it for contrast, and even color-code it for educational purposes. The digital images store easily and efficiently in our computer files, safe and sound. For insurance purposes, referrals, or patient education, digital X-rays can be easily, inexpensively, and accurately reproduced indefinitely.

Digital X-rays offer unparalleled benefits over traditional radiographs: they’re convenient, safe for the environment, provide a great opportunity for patient education, can be transferred and copied accurately, and best of all, they’re safer for our patients.