Dental Radiographs (X-rays)
Dental radiographs, also called X-rays, are a critical diagnostic tool that helps me to detect damage and disease not visible to my eyes during a regular dental exam. They reveal the conditions of your teeth, their roots, the supporting bone, the jaw position and the overall composition of your facial bones. Without x-rays I could only evaluate about 52% of the surfaces of your teeth. Diagnostically, without dental radiographs it would be like trying to swim using only your right arm and leg.
X-rays can help me determine the presence or degree of gum (periodontal) disease, abscesses, and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors. Radiographs can also show the exact location of impacted and uneruped teeth. They can pinpoint the location of cavities and other signs of disease that may not be possible to detect relying solely on a visual examination. If I can see a cavity with my own eyes it’s being caught much later than it should have been! Dental radiographs aid in early detection and in dentistry….smaller is better!
Your radiographic schedule is based upon my assessment of your individual needs, including whether you are a new patient or a maintenance patient, adult or child. In most cases new patients to my practice benefit greatly from a full set of mouth x-rays to evaluate your oral health status, including any underlying signs of gum disease, dental decay, and for future comparison. Maintenance patients may require x-rays to monitor their existing gum disease or the chance of developing tooth decay.
Dental x-ray exams are safe and necessary, however, they do require very low levels of radiation exposure, which makes the risk of potentially harmful effects very small. In my practice I make sure we use the safest tools and techniques designed to limit your body’s exposure to radiation and every precaution is taken to ensure that radiation is As Low As Reasonably Achievable (the ALARA standard). I use ultra high-speed films that capture the most clinically accurate images available with the lowest amount of exposure. Our x-ray machines use advanced collimation tubes that reduce scatter and focus the beam into the smallest area to expose a useful image without exposing unnecessary adjacent anatomical structures. We always use a leaded apron with an additional protective thyroid collar to minimize any exposure to your chest, abdomen, or thyroid. Finally, I have my x-ray machines periodically tested and certified by the State of Colorado to ensure their proper function and performance for your safety.