We learn a lot about your oral health through a visual examination of your teeth and gums. But even with 20/20 vision, there are things that can’t be seen with the naked eye. A digital x-ray sends signals to a computer, which translates into large, crisp, electronic pictures of your teeth and supporting bone. The pictures can be enlarged and colored for clarification and are stored in your file for future reference.
The digital radiograph makes it easier and less expensive to detect, diagnose and plan treatment long before problems become visible to the naked eye. We will recommend digital radiographs periodically, and as you need them. It’s the best and safest way to guard your smile against unexpected problems.
What is radiation?
Traditional dental x-rays are minimal radiation, equivalent to about five minutes of strong sunlight. Digital x-rays require 90% less radiation than traditional ones, making it even safer for all patients and staff.
Radiation is best described as energy moving through space, and it can take many forms, including visible light, x-rays, gamma –rays, microwaves, and radio waves. Radiologists use low dose radiation in the form of x-rays to create images of different parts of your body. High doses of radiation can also be used to treat certain types of cancer.
Where does radiation come from?
Radiation is all around us. The two main sources of ionizing radiation are from natural background radiation and medical exposure (CT scans and x-rays). Natural background radiation comes from the Sun (cosmic radiation), the Earth (mostly Radon gas), and from naturally radioactive substances in our body. Natural background radiation exposure accounts for an average of 3.1 mSv/yr with variations depending on where you live. The average radiation exposure to individuals in the US is 6.2 mSv/yr which includes natural background and medical imaging.
What are x-rays?
X-rays are a type of radiation used in medical imaging much like a camera uses visible light to create an image. X-rays pass through the body and create an image on film based on how many x-rays get absorbed and how many pass through. These films are commonly referred to as “x-rays,” but x-rays are actually the type of radiation that is used to produce the image. Studies that use x-rays include plain films, fluoroscopy, and computed tomography (CT scans).