Digital radiography is also known as digital x-rays and is the latest technology that is utilized to take dental radiographs. This technique utilizes an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) that captures and stores the digital image on the computer. This image can be easily viewed and enlarged which allows for ease in visualization and quick detection of problems with teeth. Digital radiographs reduce the percentage of radiation exposure to the patient by 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DENTAL X-RAYS
Dental x-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information that is not visible to the naked eye during a regular dental exam. Dental professionals use the information that is gained with an x-ray to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and write up an accurate treatment plan for the patient. Without the use of the necessary dental x-rays, many dental related problems will go undetected. Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage will save time, money and unnecessary discomfort and your teeth!
DENTAL X-RAY SAFETY
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment, such as from the sun. Digital x-rays produce a significantly lower level of radiation when compared to traditional dental x-rays. Not only are digital radiographs better for the health and overall safety of the patient, they are much faster and more comfortable to take. This ultimately results in a notable reduction in the amount of time you are in the dental office. Also, since the digital image is captured electronically, the x-rays do not need to be developed which eliminates the disposal of harmful waste and chemicals into the environment.
Although digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation to the patient, 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 utilizing lead aprons to protect the body.
FREQUENCY OF DENTAL X-RAYS
The need for dental x-rays varies and depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. The x-rays that you may require will be recommended based on the review of your medical and dental history, a full mouth periodontal exam, your age, and risk of dental disease.
A full mouth series of x-rays is recommended for every new patient. A full mouth series is good for 3 to 5 years. Bite-wing x-rays are taken at recall (check-up) and maintenance visits and are recommended 1-2x/year to detect new dental problems.