Why do dentists take x-rays and are they safe?
Churchill dental is committed to providing you with the best dental care. As a part of this we use dental x-rays (radiographs) to diagnose many conditions otherwise not seen. These include:
• dental caries or tooth decay. These can be underneath existing fillings or between teeth that can cause a great deal of damage without causing pain
• gum disease
• some types of tumors
• sinus problems
• assess jaw development
• Dentists also use x-rays to help plan for treatment like wisdom teeth removal.
If these conditions cannot be diagnosed, things can worsen and may cause:
• increased cost and complexity of treatment
• spread of infection
• teeth becoming loose and falling out
• weakening and eventually breaking of the jaw
The x-ray machines at Churchill Dental are very different from what have been used traditionally. We use digital x-rays that have up to 90%less radiation than those that use film.
To give you an example of what level of exposure these x-ray machines produce:
The average radiation exposure from the environment is 3.6millisieverts (mSv) a year. A typical dental x-ray gives out 0.003 mSv. That is equivalent to less than 1 day of radiation or a 1 to 2 hour flight on a commercial airplane. The maximum radiation exposure for a worker in America is50 mSv a year. That is the same as having 16,000 typical x-rays before you exceed this safety level! So dental x-rays are in fact quite safe.
How often should dental x-rays be taken? Generally every 2years if one maintains their dental health. If there is a higher risk of decay,gum disease or if treatment like root canal therapy is involved then more x-rays may be needed.
Many people are naturally concerned about taking an x-ray. At Churchill Dental we understand your concerns and are committed to providing you with safe dental care. We follow strict guidelines for the use of dental x-rays and all our equipment are regularly checked by specialists. If you have any concerns, feel free to discuss these with our dedicated dentists and staff.