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Dental radiographs (X-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam.  Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without X-rays, problem areas may go undetected.

Dental X-Rays May Reveal Many Issues

  • Abscesses or cysts.
  • Bone loss.
  • Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
  • Decay between the teeth.
  • Developmental abnormalities.
  • Poor tooth and root positions.
  • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.

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.  The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of X-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.

Dental X-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe.  Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental X-rays.  These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast film that cuts down the exposure time of each X-ray.

How Often Should Dental X-Rays Be Taken?

The need for dental X-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs.  Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary X-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.

full mouth series of dental X-rays is recommended for new patients.  A full series is usually good for three to five years.

The Wonders of Digital X-Rays

At Suncreek Dental, we’re pioneers in embracing modern solutions for better dental care. One such solution is digital radiography – more commonly known as digital X-rays. This advanced method lets us capture, store, and magnify images of your teeth on a computer instantaneously. Think of it as having a magnifying glass that reveals things otherwise impossible to spot with the naked eye!

Hold onto your hats because there’s more good news about digital X-rays! They’re not just innovative; they’re safer too. Compared to the already low radiation exposure from traditional dental X-rays, digital X-rays cut this down significantly – we’re talking a reduction of up to 80-90%! “Wait, are these digital X-rays truly safe?” you might wonder. We can confidently tell you – absolutely! We all receive a certain amount of natural radiation from living on our beautiful planet daily. What is the radiation level from digital X-rays? It’s even less. This makes digital X-rays an exact tool for spotting dental issues and a choice that puts your health first.

Why Use Digital Radiographs?

One of the most significant advantages of utilizing digital radiographs is the reduction of radiation exposure. Digital radiographs also eliminate the use of film and required chemicals for processing, making the overall procedure much less harmful to the environment.

The larger computer screen used to display digital radiographs allows dentists to view any problems or irregularities with added clarity. The potential for early detection of decay or periodontal problems and reducing complicated conditions later is vastly increased.

Here are some of the main conditions that digital radiographs can better expose:  

  • Small areas of decay
  • Bone recession
  • Tumors
  • Fractures and trauma
  • Positioning of the teeth
  • Developmental irregularities
  • Tooth positioning

How Are Digital Radiographs (X-Rays) Taken?

The technique for capturing digital radiographs is similar to that of the traditional-style radiographs, but the digital variety uses a small electronic sensor to capture intraoral images, as opposed to film bitewings.

Generally, a full mouth series of digital X-rays includes eighteen different views of the teeth and underlying jawbone. The two standard views dentists use are periapical and bitewing. The periapical view is used to inspect the root tips for decay, disease, or damage, while the bitewing view allows for close inspection and measurement of the mandible and maxilla (upper and lower jawbones).

After exposure, the digital image is either transferred wirelessly to a computer, or the dentist takes the plate from the mouth, and scans it with a specialized reader. Processing traditional film can take up to five minutes, but a digital image takes mere seconds. Once the image is apparent on the screen, the contrast, color, and brightness can be altered to produce a much clearer image.

Why Dental X-Rays Matter in Children’s Dentistry

Dental X-rays, or radiographs, serve as our invisible detectives in the world of pediatric dentistry at Suncreek Dental. They give us a sneak peek into your child’s dental health, allowing us to spot early signs of cavities, misalignments, and even bone diseases that might hide from the naked eye during regular check-ups.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) stands firmly behind the use of dental X-rays in children and teenagers. They’ve weighed the minimal radiation exposure against the substantial health benefits, and the verdict is clear: X-rays are essential when necessary.

Personalized Dental Care for Your Kids, Trauma Included

Here’s the thing – how often your child needs a dental X-ray isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on their unique dental health profile. Children who are more prone to cavities or alignment issues might need to swing by for a check-up twice a year. But for those blessed with sturdier dental health, X-rays every one or two years could suffice.

And then there are those unexpected moments – a tumble on the playground or a mishap with a baseball. When dental trauma occurs, an immediate X-ray could be our best bet to assess the situation and chart out the most effective treatment plan.

Bite-wing X-rays (X-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.

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