By: Jaime, Tercek, R.D.H. and Debra S. Lowe, D.M.D.
Dental radiographs (x-rays) are a necessary part of a complete dental exam. X-rays are essential diagnostic tools for finding hidden cavities between teeth and under fillings, cysts, tumors, and impacted teeth. They are effective and safe.
Digital radiography offers many advantages over typical film x-rays.
Are you concerned with being “over exposed” to radiation? Our office uses digital radiography. That means your radiation exposure is reduced by as much as 80%. Did you know that two dental x-rays deliver four times less radiation than a normal day of background radiation from playing in the sun?
Digital imaging makes diagnostic information more accessible and more valuable. Using an electronic sensor, the image is sent directly to a computer and in 10-15 seconds displayed on a LCD monitor, which can be enlarged and enhanced. This helps the dentist to better diagnose and the patient to visualize, as well as, better understand the recommendations.
A side benefit is that digital x-rays are also environmentally friendly. The sensor does not need to be recycled or disposed of as hazardous waste, and there are no chemicals or water involved, reducing pollution and water consumption.
Digital x-ray generates pictures that are diagnostically equivalent to or better than film based images.
A small flat sensor is placed in the patient’s mouth. An x-ray beam is sent through your teeth, which records the image and sends the information to the computer. The computer has image enhancement tools, which allow zooming, brightness, contrast control, reversing, colorization, and other features that can be used to assist in diagnosing. The images can be printed and sent to specialists involved in the treatment and to insurance companies.
Another benefit is that kids enjoy having digital x-rays taken.
Being able to see their x-rays on the computer screen helps them understand what is going on in their mouth. It is a great teaching tool, involving them in their treatment and easing their anxiety, while building trust in the dental team.
Having dental radiographs (digital images) taken at regular intervals is cost effective.
Left undiagnosed, the small problems we cannot see without an x-ray, become large and expensive problems like root canals, crowns or extractions. Putting off radiographs, in order to save money, can cause dental treatment to become much more time consuming and costly.
Refusing to have dental radiographs taken would be like going to see your physician for a physical and refusing the blood work. Your physician would be diagnosing and treating “blindly” without all the necessary information.
A FEW THOUGHTS TO LEAVE YOU WITH:
- X-rays are essential diagnostic tools for finding hidden cavities between teeth and under fillings, cysts, tumors, and impacted teeth.
- Our office takes only the radiographs required to provide excellent diagnostic care, as recommended by the American Dental Association’s guidelines.
- We use digital films to increase efficiency and reduce radiation.
- Patient education is our goal. We use radiographs so our patients can understand their treatment and play a role in their health.
- We send radiographs along with insurance claims, which decreases claim delays/denials.
- Routine radiographs promote early detection and reduce costs.
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