X-Rays — An Important Dental Tool
Dental x-ray images are an indispensable part of your regular dental examinations. Some people have concerns about the effects of radiation on their well-being. Rest assured that advanced technology has considerably limited the amount of radiation exposure involved with dental x-rays.
First, the x-ray components are shielded so that your exposure is limited to just the amount necessary for images of your jaw and teeth. Second, your vital organs will be covered with a lead protector, strictly as a precaution. Finally, your typical exposure in a dental office is far less than the radiation you receive simply from natural doses experienced on planet Earth — .4 mSv (or milliSieverts) from typical annual dental x-rays, compared to approximately 3 milliSieverts from natural background radiation. It would take some 2500 x-rays in one year before a patient might notice any ill effects from typical dental x-rays.
X-rays are very important for our Placerville dentists, as they let them determine if you are experiencing any of the following conditions:
- unseen decay between teeth;
- early bone loss due to periodontitis or other factors;
- tumors, cysts or abscesses;
- developmental problems;
- impacted or misaligned teeth.
Types of X-ray Imaging
- Dental associations recommend annual bitewing x-ray images at a minimum (so-called because you “bite” on the device used to create the picture). These let your Placerville dentist see the condition of your crowns and the height of the bone between the teeth.
- Full-set x-rays of the entire mouth are suggested every three to five years, providing a complete view of every tooth in relation to the bone and neighboring teeth.
- A periapical x-ray will take a picture of a single tooth. This will typically be done if a patient is complaining of a toothache, so that the dentist can examine that tooth specifically.
- A panoramic x-ray of your teeth and jaw, called a Panorex, can be taken without the patient placing anything in their mouth. Both the upper and lower jaw are seen together with one picture. This type of image is generally taken when treatment is necessary for impacted teeth or to examine other suspected problems below the gum line.
As part of our Placerville dentistry practice, we only recommend those x-rays necessary for ensuring your oral health and safety. Every precaution and advancement available to guarantee your well-being is considered and utilized by the Placerville Dental Group. The diagnostic and preventative benefits are well worth the use of this time-tested medical tool.