Dental x-rays are important diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam.
Dental x-rays are important for dental health
Our office uses digital technology, which requires less radiation and produces excellent image quality in less time than film. Dr. Pool and your dental hygienist use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and develop an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected. Some of the potential dental issues that can be identified with dental x-rays include:
Decay between the teeth
Abscesses or Cysts
Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
Poor tooth and root positions
Problems inside the tooth or below the gum line
Impacted wisdom teeth & wisdom teeth alignment
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth.
What if another dentist has taken them?
Please contact your previous dental office and have the x-rays sent to our office. We prefer to have digital x-rays emailed to our office. Generally you will need to sign a release form to have the x-rays transferred. Provided they are current, we will not need new x-rays or maybe we will need only part of a set to bring you up to date. If the previous x-rays have not been sent to our office prior to your dental appointment then we will need to take new x-rays. If the x-rays are no longer current then a new set will be needed.
We are all exposed to a certain amount of radiation in our day-to-day life. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays taken with film is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from environmental sources. The latest digital x-ray technology requires even less radiation that this, thereby reducing the patient’s exposure.
We want to keep your x-ray exposure at a minimum. To assure this, we use x-ray machines that have the greatest shielding that is possible; use digital x-rays; or use the x-ray film that has the shortest exposure time; take as few x-rays as possible; and place a lead apron on you when taking films.
How often should x-rays be taken?
This depends on the patient. Patients that are either not brushing well or who are having a lot of decay may need x-rays as often as every 6 months. In general the checkup series of x-rays should be taken once a year. The complete set of x-rays (FMX) or Pano should be taken every 3-5 years.
What if a patient does not want x-rays?
The guide lines mentioned not only set how often we should take x-rays, but also set standard of care. Standard of care is the level of care that is considered necessary. If periodic x-rays are not taken we would not be able to know about decay, level of bone, health of bone and roots, the existence of cysts, tumors, impacted teeth. We would not be meeting the established standard of care. In short, we would not be delivering good dentistry. In order to deliver conservative dentistry we have to stay ahead of any developing decay, so at this office we recommend yearly x-rays, unless the patient requires another protocol.
We have digital sensors in this office to take routine x-rays. This allows us to get x-ray images on a TV screen. The advantage is we get the image much faster. The image is many times larger so it is easier to see for the patient and the dentist. We can manipulate the image with the computer to increase contrast, lighten or darken, colorize, shadow, or reverse colors. All this allows us to get information we may not be able to see in the conventional x-ray film. Another advantage is it takes about 1/5 as much radiation to get an image.