What are x-rays?
Going to a doctor visit can be nerve-wrecking, but coming to Parklane Dental couldn’t be more comfortable! We want to ensure your visit to be as stress-free as possible. We understand many of our patients may have some concerns about x-rays, and we want to address all your questions.
If you have x-rays from your previous dentist, you may request that office to forward your x-rays. However, if they are older than 6 months, new x-rays will be taken to ensure we have an accurate snapshot of your oral health.
Please watch this brief clip about x-rays from the American Dental Association!
Dental x-rays are a useful diagnostic tool to help our team of doctors at Parklane Dental to detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. While our doctors are exceptionally trained and experienced at spotting signs and symptoms of oral disease on the exterior of your teeth and the exterior of the gum, Dr. To and our team of dentists have not yet developed the super power to look inside your teeth!
Because of the limitation of a visual examination, x-rays can reveal cavities between teeth, cavities hidden by/under fillings, infections inside the bone, periodontal disease, abscesses or cysts, and tumor. Our staff strives to provide the best preventive treatment for your oral health, but that can only be achieved through x-rays for early detection of teeth damage and diseases.
Why do I need x-rays?
Without x-rays of your teeth, dentists can not accurately confirm the presence of cavities and other oral diseases, and determine the present status of your oral health. X-rays also functions as a baseline for doctors and dental professionals to identify changes that may occur later, such as until your next appointment when x-rays are taken again. For example, x-rays might be taken in 6 months after your previous appointment for fillings to check if new cavities have developed, especially underneath the filling.
Not only the teeth of children grow quickly, and also the adult sets of teeth in children are often not visible (but inside the gum below the baby teeth)! Therefore, the American Dental Association recommends x-ray exam at 6 months intervals for children. Furthermore, x-rays serve as part of a photographic gallery to show the progress of growing tooth for children.
Are x-rays safe?
Dental x-ray exams are SAFE! They do require very low levels of radiation exposure, but dental x-ray tools and techniques are designed to limit that. For your medical reference, intraoral x-ray at our office accounts for 5 µSv (microsieverts) of radiation, while a mammography accounts 400 µSv and a GI tract radiography at 6,000 µSv. The exposure from dental x-ray is extremely small when compared to other radiographs in the medical field.
For comparison, exposure from a routine dental x-ray is LESS THAN one day of exposure to natural background radiation (your cellphone, sunlight, soil and rocks, radon, and plants) at 7 µSv, and less than exposure to one hour of an airplane flight (cosmic radiation from space as you are higher in altitude, where cosmic rays are not blocked by the atmosphere) at 8 µSv. Proper shielding in our office makes exposure even lower.
We understand there are concerns for the safety of x-rays in pregnant patients. A leaded apron minimizes exposure to the abdomen. Reviewed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Patients often need reassurance that prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral conditions, including dental x-rays (with shielding of the abdomen and thyroid) … are safe during pregnancy.”