Truth about X-rays

Dental x-rays are a vital diagnostic tool for dentists, but many patients worry about the radiation that they are being exposed to. The truth is, exposeure to radiation from dental x-rays is minimal. The dosage of X-ray radiation received by a dental patient is typically small (around 0.150 mSv for a full mouth series, according to the American Dental Association website), equivalent to a few days' worth of background environmental radiation exposure, or similar to the dose received during a cross-country airplane flight (concentrated into one short burst aimed at a small area). Incidental exposure is further reduced by the use of a lead shield, in the form of a lead apron.

To ease you mind further, here are some other positive facts about dental xrays:

FACT #1 - Dental x-rays are for more then just cavities. Dental x-rays gives the dentist a more comprehensive look at the overall structure of the teeth. This is very helpful in locating and treating certain cavities, but x-ray films are also used to identify erupting teeth, detect bone diseases, evaluate the results of injuries, and treat conditions that are not easily detected in normal clinical exams.

Fact #2 - Dental x-rays are especially important for children. X-rays are crucial for children because their teeth are growing and changing so rapidly. Plus, children are more susceptible to tooth decay than adults. For children prone to tooth decay, the American Pediatric dental Association recommends x-rays be taken every six months to catch the tooth decay early.

Fact #3 - Dental x-rays are only taken when necessary. The ADA recommends for an adult with decay present and an increased risk for cavities, to have bitewing x-rays taken every six to twelve months, whereas someone with no decay or increased risk mar be able to go as long as two years.

Fact #4 - Dental x-rays are much safer then ever before. Contemporary safeguards have lessened the amount of radiation from dental xrays more then ever before. We provide lead body aprons and shields to wear. X-rays are taken more quickly with high speed film. Last but not least, the xray beam is restricted to the area of interest with other areas being blocked out.

One final way to reduce radiation?  If your x-rays are two years old or less, avoid getting a new set of x-rays when you change to a new dentist, Ask your previous dentist to send copies of your x-rays to your new dentist.