Digital Dental X-Rays
Unlike the old film x-rays that had to be developed, digital x-rays are available to view immediately on the screen, allowing your dentist to instantly diagnose the problem and explain it to you.
X-rays use energy that will pass through soft tissues while being absorbed by hard tissues like teeth and bone.
We will regularly take digital dental x-rays to closely monitor your dental health and most healthy adults will only require a full set of x-rays every two years and routine x-rays yearly. Children tend to require less frequent x-rays, a large wrap around x-ray called the Panorex is taken every 3 years because their teeth and jaws are developing so rapidly.
We may sometimes suggest you have an x-ray for diagnostic purposes, for example if you develop toothache or another dental problem. This will help us to quickly diagnose any problems hidden from view.
How safe are dental X-Rays?
Digital dental x-rays are extremely safe, only using low doses of radiation energy. Our x-ray equipment is modern and well maintained and we take every precaution to ensure you are safe during this procedure. In terms of radiation exposure, spending one day in the sun is comparable to receiving 20 dental X-rays.
New advances in technology of x-ray sensors and machines allow your dentist to take digital x-rays with considerably less radiation than the old traditional machines in the past. Low doses over a period of time are not as harmful as large doses at once because over time the body can recover. A typical dental x-ray exposes you to only about 0.01-0.03 mrem and the average person gets 360 mrem every year from being outside alone.
Examples of everyday radiation that you may not realize you are exposed to include, living in a brick house, cooking with natural gas, and sleeping next to someone else. All of us have small amounts of naturally occurring radioactive materials in our bodies. You can even get the equivalent radiation of 2 dental X-rays just from a short plane ride like from Penticton to Vancouver. An entire day in the sun is comparable to 20 dental X-rays.
To sum it all up, you can have 10,000 dental x-rays per year at the dentist before exceeding the maximum allowable dose. The benefits of digital x-rays far outweigh any risks.
When Might I Need a Digital X-Ray?
There are lots of reasons why we might need to take a digital x-ray as for example it can help us detect cavities in the contact areas between teeth.
An x-ray will enable us to take a close look at the tooth roots which can be especially helpful if we suspect you may have an infection. We can also check the health of the bone surrounding your tooth and can see the location of any teeth yet to erupt.
There are lots of different x-rays that may be taken depending on the location of the tooth.
Understanding the Different Types of Dental X-Rays
Bite Wing X-rays show the upper and lower back teeth in a particular section of your mouth. This type of x-ray is useful in detecting any decay in between teeth and shows how the teeth bite together or occlude with one another.
A Periapical X-ray shows an entire tooth in great detail, right from the crown to the tooth root as well as the bone surrounding and supporting the tooth. It is extremely useful when diagnosing a tooth infection and will help us to plan treatment.
Digital Dental X-Rays can help us detect cavities in the contact areas between teeth.
A Panoramic X-ray shows a complete view of your teeth and jaws, and your joints and sinuses. This is useful for assessing your dental health, for diagnosing possible problems with your jaw joints and for planning certain treatments.