Dental X-Rays (also called Radiographs) are images of your teeth and/or the bone structure of your mouth. They are incredibly useful when it comes to practicing effective preventative and diagnostic oral health care. Many people have questions and concerns about the safety of x-rays and exposure to radiation. X-rays can help to diagnose problems or abnormalities that would otherwise go undiagnosed. They are an essential part of dental care and are considered perfectly safe. At Stonegate Dental we take every precaution to ensure the safety and well being of our clients while providing outstanding dental care.
When are Dental X-Rays Necessary?
The need to obtain x-rays varies depending on the needs of each individual client. In general, some dental x-rays are recommended to be done annually or semi annually, while others can be good for 3-5 years. A full set of x-rays are routinely done with a new client so that their new dentist can get a clear and complete picture of their overall oral health. X-rays can be done more often if your dentist is monitoring the progress of a certain condition. Some factors that can contribute to how often you might need x-rays are:
-Current condition of oral health
-Previous instances of tooth decay or gum disease
-Possible symptoms of oral disease
Children may have X-rays done more often so that their dentist can monitor the growth and development of their adult teeth. These images can provide useful information and can help your dentist identify possible issues or complications. This is very important information for your dentist as they decide on a treatment plan and/or possible preventative interventions.
What can be revealed by Dental X-Rays?
X-rays can help identify many different problem areas or hidden dental abnormalities that would otherwise go undetected. Some of these include:
– Decay between the teeth
– Poor positioning of tooth or root
– Problems under the gum line or within the tooth
– Tumors (Cancerous and Non Cancerous)
– Cysts or Abscesses
– Bone Loss
– Impacted wisdom teeth
How Safe are X-Rays?
Dental X-rays involve small amounts of radiation, however the level of exposure is considered safe for both adults and children. Everyone is exposed to natural radiation in our environment every day. In fact, the level of radiation a client might be exposed to from a full mouth series of x-rays is comparable to the amount an individual can be exposed to naturally in a single day. Your dentist will also take preventative measures to limit the amount of radiation each patient is exposed to. These precautions include the use of a protective lead apron shield. A thyroid collar may also be used. At Stonegate Dental we use Digital X-Rays which further decreases the level of exposed radiation. There are also many federal laws and regulations in place that require regular routine safety checks and impeccable accuracy. Each and every dental clinic must meet these requirements. Women who are pregnant or suspect they may be pregnant should avoid having x-rays done as radiation is not considered safe for developing fetuses. You should always tell your dentist if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
What different kinds of X-Rays are available?
There are two types of dental X-Rays: Intraoral (where the x-ray film is placed inside the mouth) and extraoral (the x-ray film is placed outside of the mouth.) Intraoral x-rays are the most common type of x-rays. There are several different types of intraoral x-rays, each one providing a different view of the teeth and mouth. These x-rays provide detailed images for your dentist and can help detect early signs of decay, gum disease, as well as check the health of each tooth, root, and bone around the tooth. Extraoral x-rays are used to detect oral issues in the jaw and skull. These x-rays are used to detect impacted teeth, to monitor the growth and development of the jaw in relation to the teeth and to identify other potential issues between the teeth, jaw and other bones in the face.
Just as daily brushing and flossing and regular checkups are important; routine x-rays are an essential part of achieving and maintaining excellent oral health. Even if you have no concerns or issues at checkups, x-rays should be done every 1-2 years depending on your health, age and insurance coverage. X-rays are a safe and integral part of effective preventive oral medicine and can help reveal a need for intervention, potentially avoiding complicated and costly procedures down the road. To learn more about the types of x-rays and other services offered at Stonegate Dental, call our Guelph Dentist office today!