Digital radiography (digital x-ray) is the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. This technique uses an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged, helping the orthodontist detect problems more easily. Digital radiographs reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
Dental radiographs are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Orthodontists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas can go undetected.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
Abscesses or cysts.
Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
Decay between the teeth.
Poor tooth and root positions.
Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
Missing, malformed and improperly positioned teeth.
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. Digital x-rays produce a significantly lower level of radiation compared to traditional dental x-rays. Not only are digital x-rays better for the health and safety of the patient, they are faster and more comfortable to take, which reduces your time in the dental office. Also, since the digital image is captured electronically, there is no need to develop the x-rays, thus eliminating the disposal of harmful waste and chemicals into the environment.
Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary, and using lead apron shields to protect the body.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your orthodontist will recommend necessary x-rays based upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental examination, and your orthodontic treatment progress.
Your general dentist may recommend additional radiographs in their office, as different types of images may be needed. If your dentist needs a copy of your radiographs, those can be emailed to their office as needed.