Why Regular Dental X-rays are so important, even in Year 2015!
One of the main reasons you may go to the dentist is to detect dental problems before they turn into serious concerns and issues. While a physical examination can find noticeable signs of decay, some oral diseases are just not visible to the naked eye. This is why dental X-rays are such an important part of dental care. Dental X-rays can detect even the slightest traces of oral health problems at their earliest stages, such as cavities (decay), gum disease (gingivitis and periodontal disease), oral infections, and some types of tumors. With early detection, you can get the treatment you need before problems have a chance to develop and worsen.
It’s important to realize that dental X-rays are only taken when necessary for diagnosis and treatment. Their frequency depends on the individual’s dental health, signs of dental problems, age, and risk for oral disease. For example, if a patient, who attends their dental hygiene visits regularly and has not had a dental issue or decay in years, would not likely need x-rays every 6 or 9 months, but once every eighteen to twenty four months. If a patient presents themselves with a tooth that is bothering them, an x-ray is needed to determine what is happening. X-rays are the only way a dentist can see what is happening in between your teeth and what lies below.
While some people worry about the radiation exposure from X-rays, there really is no need for concern. Modern technology has reduced radiation levels to miniscule amounts. For almost 25 years, the Canadian Dental Association has published recommendations to help family dentistry practices make sure that radiation exposure is as low as effectively possible. In addition, dentists take numerous safety precautions like protective aprons and collars to protect patients from radiation. We also make any exposure as brief as possible by using digital X-rays. A quality 2D Pan with several segmented image options is preferred vs. numerous small x-rays, known as PA’s or a Full Mouth Series. Digital Intra Oral combined with quality Digital Pan Images is becoming the new standard of care. Dentistry at Lifestyles even has a CT scanner that has a much lower radiation dose then CT Scanners used at hospitals.
Just to give you an idea of exposure, here are some different x-rays and amount of exposure to compare: – a digital Panoramic uses 4.7 – 14.5 uSv, a cone beam CT scanner (like ours) uses 14 uSv, a full mouth series uses 150 uSv, and a medical CT scanner uses 1200-3300 uSv. Radiation from other Sources: Daily Background 8 uSv, and a commercial flight uses 6 uSv per hour.
The true value of dental X-rays lies in the way they discover dental problems before they have a chance to develop. If we don’t catch these issues early, the treatment will end of costing you more in time and money to fix these areas.As you can see, dental X-rays show the big picture on your dental health and play a valuable role in good dental care.