Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. At Lifesmiles Family Dentistry, we use only the latest digital X-ray imaging. This allows for increased sensitivity with digital sensors so we can have decreased radiation over traditional X-ray machines.
Dr. John Gawlik and the dental hygienists use the information provided by the digital X-rays to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan.
Do I need Dental X-rays?
Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected and further decay can cause serious damage costing much more than if X-rays are taken at the prescribed visits. Typically, Dr. Gawlik and his team recommend digital X-rays once per year. Taking them yearly help to easily see any changes in teeth, root structure, and gums.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts.
- Bone loss.
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
- Decay between the teeth.
- Developmental abnormalities.
- Poor tooth and root positions.
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
- Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
What are the different types of dental X rays?
- Bitewings– the x-ray film or plastic sensor has a little tab in the middle that the patient bites on with their back teeth. These x-ray pictures help look for cavities between the back teeth.
- Periapicals– these x-ray pictures are used to look at the roots of front or back teeth. Each periapical x-ray picture can only look at two or three teeth.
- Panoramic x-ray – a machine that rotates around the outside of the head takes this picture. It can show all the jaw bones and all the teeth.
- Cone Beam CT– this is like a medical CT scan but it uses less x rays. However, the cone beam CT uses more x rays than bitewing, periapical or panoramic x rays. It helps make three-dimensional (3D) pictures. It is used infrequently compared to the other types of dental x rays.
Are dental x-rays safe?
At Lifesmiles, we use only the latest in dental technology, including the use of digital X-rays. Digital X-rays gives 70% less exposure to radiation than conventional X-rays. We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe, despite the recent press condemming them. Dr. John Gawlik and his staff take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields when requested to protect the body and using modern, fast digital technology that cuts down the exposure time of each x-ray.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are recommended a year to detect new dental problems.
If you have any questions about the use of, or the need for, dental X-rays, please contact Lifesmiles Family Dentistry today. We’re here to answer any questions you may have!