Dental radiographs, or X-rays, are an important part of a thorough dental examination. A full set of X-rays (18) is usually required for patients who are new to a dental practice, or who need extensive treatment. Two to four follow-up or check-up X-rays called “bite-wings” are necessary every 6-18 months, depending on each individual patient’s needs. The most common questions concerning dental X-rays deal with: why they are needed, the amount of radiation exposure, the safety during pregnancy, and recently, the benefit of digital X-ray technology.
Dental X-rays are important for many reasons. They can expose hidden tooth decay; reveal a tooth abscess, cyst or tumor; show impacted or extra teeth; and also help determine the condition of dental fillings, tooth crowns, dental bridges and root canals. Dental X-rays can also reveal bone loss from periodontal gum disease, locate tarter buildup, find foreign bodies within the gum or bone, and see if there is enough bone for the placement of dental implants. These are just some of the many reasons why dentists rely on dental X-rays.
Some people worry about their exposure to radiation during dental X-ray procedures. This is very understandable in light of the relatively high radiation of some medical X-rays. They may remember a doctor in the emergency room asking them or a female family member if they are pregnant because they need to take a chest X-ray or an upper gastrointestinal (GI) series. Patients who have had cancer may also have a heightened sense of awareness about the radiation that they are receiving at the dental office.
One new dental technology involving dental X-rays is digital X-rays. They offer the advantage of an 80 percent reduction in radiation, no need for film or processing chemicals, production of a nearly instantaneously image, and the ability to use color contrast in the image. At OakHeights Family Dental and Orthodontics we use Digital X-Rays. Dr. Marneni wants to use the best technology available to provide best possible care.