One of the most common questions patients ask is “Do I NEED x-rays?” Radiation is a huge concern because of its correlation to cancer and other genetic diseases, so it is understandable that many patients would rather never get x-rays. However, x-rays are a critical part of the diagnostic process.
Pictures of your teeth are made using x-rays. These can be used to see what can’t be observed with the naked eye during an exam such as interproximal tooth decay, dental injuries (like tooth fractures), or teeth that are impacted. By taking x-rays, issues can be found early before any symptoms become present. They are also important when planning for a large cavity, root canal, implants or extractions.
The big question still remains: are x-rays safe? At Smiles Unlimited Dentistry, P.C., we use lead aprons to cover patients’ bodies and neck, lowering radiation exposure and protecting the thyroid. Dr. Richard M. Richman, D.D.S., has also equipped his office with digital imaging which uses significantly less radiation than old techniques that involved developing x-rays in a dark room. The only people that may want to consider skipping xrays are pregnant women because any risk there is to a developing fetus should be minimized. If an x-ray is absolutely necessary then extra precautions will be used and the image will be taken with the utmost care.
Consider this – during one cross country flight you are exposed to about 5 mrem of radiation. In an x-ray you are exposed to only about 2 mrem. This level of radiation is extremely small, and the possibility of any harmful effects occurring is minute. You wouldn’t skip a flight because of the small exposure to radiation. Similarly, dental x-rays shouldn’t be skipped because of worries regarding radiation. X-rays are crucial if want the most thorough care and proper treatment. So be kind to your mouth and get your x-rays taken so that we can take care of you.
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SEO Title: Dental X-Rays: Why Your Mouth Needs Them