Why do I need dental xrays?

Digital X-ray showing abscess above molar, not seen by looking in the mouth

Dental X-rays are an essential and invaluable tool to help assist us in evaluating your oral health. With X-rays, we can see what’s happening beneath the surface of your teeth and gums and identify oral health issues otherwise hidden during a visual exam, including:

·         small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings)
·         infections in the bone
·         periodontal (gum) disease
·         abscesses or cysts
·         developmental abnormalities
·         types of tumors

If left untreated, these problems can lead to expensive, time-consuming, and painful conditions, so it’s important to find and treat them early.

But I don’t want too much radiation!

If your dentist uses traditional film-based xrays, the amount of radiation is a fraction of, say, a chest xray in a hospital.  Even better, if your dentist uses digital xrays, the radiation is dramatically reduced up to 90% of a film-based dental xray! You are exposed to more radiation just walking around outside than you are in a dental setting.  Dental X-rays are extremely safe, and our team is certified in the proper use of our digital X-ray equipment. We try to be as conservative as possible when prescribing x-rays but do need them to see what is going on where our eyes can’t see.

But how much radiation am I getting?

Orthodontic residents at the Arizona School of Dentistry Class of 2013 researched the actual amount of radiation that patients receive from usual daily activities.  You get 0.1 micro-Sieverts of radiation from eating a banana, daily dose of radiation from being outside is 10 micro-Sieverts, living in a brick house for one year is 70 mS, a mammogram is 3,000 mS, and a dental xray in our office is 0.2 mS.  Just for some perspective…

Dr. Andrea Stevens is a cosmetic and family dentist in practice in Kanata, Ontario. If you have dental questions, you can call her at 613-271-7091 or visit her at kanatacosmeticdentist.com Please also feel free to leave comments or questions below, and Dr. Stevens will be happy to answer!