Why Do Dentists Need All Those X-Rays?
Great dentists dedicate their careers to performing the highest quality oral care to each patient while practicing the latest advances in science and technology to improve the entire U.S. population’s oral health. Guidelines are instituted to serve as a supplement to the dentist’s professional judgment of using each patient’s diagnostic imaging best.
Radiographs, also known as X-Rays, help dental practitioners accurately evaluate and diagnose various oral diseases and conditions. Nevertheless, the dentist must weigh the benefits of taking dental radiographs against exposing a patient to x-rays, which accumulate from multiple sources over the patient’s life. A dentist, armed with the patient’s health history, will understand a patient’s vulnerability to oral disease. The dentist truly is in the best position to make this judgment in each patient’s best interest.
In general, x-rays are used to “see” and understand what is happening under the gums and bones of a patient – the x-rays reveal various findings. Various types of radiographs assist the dentist in making the proper diagnosis.
(Pans) Panoramic Radiographs
– X-rays that give dentists a full view, also known as a panoramic view, of a patient’s upper jaw, lower jaw, and part of the upper neck. By providing the dentist a “complete picture” of what is happening in the patient’s oral cavity, panoramic x-rays are extremely important. Bony tumors, lesions, impacted teeth, neural canals, and alveolar bone anatomy are a few examples of what a dentist wants to see when looking at a panoramic x-ray. It is recommended that a panoramic x-ray be taken every three to five years.
– This kind of x-ray is made when the dentist wants a close up picture of a tooth. This x-ray provides the dentist a focus on one or two particular teeth, rendering detailed views of conditions like cavities. Periodontal ligaments can also be viewed in greater detail, which helps diagnose dental abscesses. Gum disease can be diagnosed more accurately by looking at a patient’s jaw bone via an x-ray. Root canals can be viewed extra clearly, which is helpful when performing a root canal procedure.
– The principal purpose for choosing a bitewing x-ray is to learn if there is a cavity between two neighboring teeth. Decay between two teeth can’t always be seen intraorally during an oral examination. Therefore, this type of x-ray helps the dentist to see any problems that are typically hidden. Bitewing radiographs generally are taken annually.
Are Dental X-Rays Dangerous?
Studies show dental x-rays are. A routine oral exam, which includes four bitewings, is approximately 0.005 mSv – less than one day of typical background radiation. That is also the same quantity of radiation exposure from a quick airplane flight (~1-2 hrs). Proper shielding is also standard, which makes the possible risk even lower.
If I’m Pregnant, What Is the Risk to My Fetus?
For pregnant women who have a dental problem, the dentist must use their best professional judgment when it comes to x-rays. Deciding factors usually include:
· the dental issue in question
· overall health of the patient
· How far along the pregnancy is
Once these factors have been thoroughly considered, the dentist must decide whether an x-ray is beneficial. Even if there is a slight chance that you might be pregnant, please inform your dentist and the dental staff that is performing your study.
If I Have Cancer, Can Radiation from Dental Imaging Make It Worse?
This is the most prevalent reason most patients decline dental x-rays. The answer is: NO. It takes decades for exposure from low dose radiation to manifest. Nevertheless, the knowledge gained from imaging a patient with cancer likely outweighs the risk of cancer induction.
Rest assured that dental x-rays are vital tools in supporting your dentist to maintain your oral health. They help show if you are orally healthy or in need of dental treatment. Remember always to ask your dentist any questions you may have regarding your treatment or examination.
If you are currently experiencing wisdom tooth extraction complications and nerve damage, ToothHQ Dental Specialists has four dentistry offices in Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Dallas, and Grapevine, TX. For a consultation or dental treatment for better dental health, you can contact his office today at (214)731-0123.