In the nearly 125 years since the introduction of radiography, we have been using x-rays to diagnose and treat problems with your mouth with confidence and skill. However, there are several misconceptions about x-rays, with many patients understandably hesitating when we advise them. While we know that x-rays are incredibly safe and beneficial, we here at OHIOSmiles want to educate our patients on the advantages of digital radiography in treating problems that can develop inside your mouth.
Why Do We Use Digital X-rays Here?
Does this scene sound familiar? After we explain to you that you need x-rays, we protect you underneath a heavy lead apron; then we flee the room to push the button to capture the image. That would make anyone nervous about their safety!
The fact is, getting x-rays is extremely safe, possessing less than one day’s worth of natural radiation in a series of bitewings (the upper and lower back teeth in your mouth). Of course, while that is entirely safe for you, repeated exposure to us could be harmful (as we take several per day!), so we do have to step out of the room to take the capture. As a bonus, digital x-rays have even less radiation than conventional x-rays, making them all the safer for you!
Digital x-rays are a fantastic diagnostic tool, allowing us to quickly assess the health and structures inside your mouth. We can use digital x-rays to determine if you have tooth decay (cavities), bone loss, check on your teeth (including wisdom teeth), view your tooth roots, track progress on periodontal disease, and quickly track changes to your oral health. With all these important benefits, they are an obvious choice for our patients.
Digital x-rays, however, are even better than conventional. Not only do we get all the advantages of conventional x-rays, but we also get the bonus of having all of this technology computerized and digitalized. Instead of having to wait for the negatives to come back from the lab, we can see the results instantly. That allows us to diagnose and treat you all the faster. Plus, we can zoom in, enhance, and even adjust the size of your image. We can change the contrast of your digital x-ray, either brightening it or deepening the contrast to allow us to zero in on concerning areas in your mouth.
Typically, we advise digital x-rays every two years for our patients. This allows us to keep up-to-date records on file for you. Whenever we have a new patient in our office, we also do advise taking digital x-rays to determine your baseline oral health. That way we can tell at a glance if there are any changes to it each time you come in for a follow-up appointment, which is recommended every six months. If you come in with a specific complaint, such as pain in a certain tooth, we may also want to take x-rays of the site to see if you have an infection, tooth decay, or a broken tooth.