WHY ARE DENTAL X-RAYS NEEDED?
Many diseases of the oral cavity (which includes the teeth and surrounding tissues and bone) cannot be seen when a dentist visually examines the mouth. An x-ray exam may help us see:
- Small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing fillings
- Bone damage from a tooth infection (such as an abcess) or a cyst
- Bone loss due to periodontal (gum) disease
- Developmental defects
- Some types of tumors
- The effects of trauma
- The position of un-erupted teeth
- Missing or extra teeth
Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money, and unneeded discomfort. It may also prevent more serious health problems.
HOW ARE DIGITAL X-RAYS MADE?
Digital imaging uses an x-ray machine like that used for traditional dental x-rays made with film. But instead of using film in a plastic holder, digital images are made using a small electronic sensor that is placed in the mouth to capture the x-ray image.
WHY DO WE TAKE DIGITAL X-RAY IMAGES?
There are many benefits to using digital dental x-ray images.
- When the digital x-ray image is exposed, it can be sent directly to a computer and viewed right away. For an x-ray film to be exposed, it must be processed in special chemicals which takes a few minutes.
- Digital x-rays can be enlarged on the computer screen making it easier to see the pictures
- Digital x-rays can often be corrected without having to make another x-ray exposure
- The office can print or copy your digital x-ray images. They can also be sent electronically.
- Digital x-rays are environmentally friendly. They eliminate the need for film and film processing chemicals.
- Digital x-ray images may require less radiation.
ARE DENTAL X-RAYS SAFE?
Dental x-rays require very low levels of radiation exposure, making the risk of potentially harmful effects very small. A set of bitewing x-ray images creates only a small fraction of the radiation a person would be exposed to when flying on an airplane.
We use dental x-ray tools and techniques that are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation. We also take steps to limit the area exposed like limiting the size of the x-ray beam and using a leaded apron and thyroid shield so x-rays cannot pass through. Dr. McNutt practices with a very conservative approach to dental x-rays.