Why Do Dentists Take So Many X-Rays?

Dental radiology, or X-rays imaging is the most common tool used in dentistry for visualization of problems and conditions of teeth, bone, jaw, TMJ, and sinuses. X-ray technology allows us to see the area of the teeth and oral cavity that are otherwise invisible to naked eye, for example the area between teeth where cavities always form. X-ray also allows to evaluate the extent of cavity growth into the tooth, therefore preparing the appropriate treatment. They also allow us to find bone abnormalities because of periodontal disease, tooth infection, bone infection, and cancers. They are an indispensable tool in determining the life of tooth which is affected with a dental disorder.

Although X-ray technology has been used in dentistry for more than a century, technological advances have improved the image quality, and reduced the radiation exposure. In modern day dental practices, like ours, digital radiography allows us to enhance a digital X-ray image, thereby reducing the amount of radiation exposure needed to produce similar image. Digital radiography reduces the amount of radiation exposure by more than 80 percent.

Although radiation exposure has been diminishing in dental settings, it is noteworthy to mention that the exposure amount is still too little to be of a concern to anyone. For example, a full set of digital x-rays, comprising of 18 individual teeth have the same amount of X-ray radiation as walking for half an hour in the sun, or flying from New York to LA.  At Dental Atelier we take following precautions for the safety of our patient:

  1. Provide a lead apron and a lead thyroid collar during X-ray taking process
  2. Monitor the scattered radiation in our office using X-ray exposure devices
  3. Routine maintenance and calibration of our X-ray system to ensure proper function

Before taking X-rays, you must inform your dental professionals of the following:

  1. If you are pregnant
  2. If you have received radiation due to cancer to head and neck
  3. If you have received dental X-rays recently