Radiographs (X-rays) are a valuable aid in evaluation of different
We now have digital x-ray!
types of X-rays will be used and why do I need them?
X-rays are only taken
when we believe it will directly benefit your dental health.
Dental radiographs are routine to your dental health in order to provide
you with the highest standard of care in through diagnosis and treatment
We perform x-rays in a safe manner to offer you the greatest
protection (X-Ray Safety) They allow us to discover developing tumors cysts, abscesses and
decay because 35% off all decay is not visible to the naked eye.
now have digital x-rays which
Bite-Wings: Are a type
of X-rays that allow us to obtain view of specific teeth.
They show the crowns and part of the root of 2 or 3 your teeth and the
immediate surrounding bone level. They
are called Bite-Wing because the X-ray film holder provides a surface for you to
bite down on in order to hold the X-ray securely in place.
They are used to help
detect cavities in between the teeth; bone loss to evaluate periodontal
conditions and to determine the quality of previous dental restorations (i.e.
filling). It is recommended to take these yearly if you are in good dental
Occlusal X-ray: are
less common and are taken to show the whole bite of the upper or lower jaw.
This type of X-ray is used with children between the ages of 3-8 to show
how the primary and permanent teeth are developing. Because we are all different
there is no “standard” frequency interval.
Periapical X-ray (P.A.):
Are used to provide images of the entire tooth from crown to root tip.
They are utilized to display the root, cysts, abscesses, etc. that are
involved with toothaches. We can use them to also check bone level around teeth
and to evaluate bone loss that is caused by periodontal disease.
They can also be used to assess existing dental work.
These X-rays give fine details that are extremely important in diagnosis.
It is taken only when necessary to aid in diagnosis of a particular
Full Mouth Series: This
involves 14 individual P.A.’s plus four Bite-Wings.
It is needed to find conditions such as cysts, tumors, gum disease or
abscesses that exist in the bone surrounding the teeth.
It is used to determine the health of the teeth and the nerve tissue
within the teeth, and can be employed as a comparison for the future if any
problems should arise. This series of films are taken about every 5-7 years
Panoramic X-ray: Is one
X-ray that provides a full picture of your whole mouth- complete upper and lower
jaw; sinuses and jaw joint. It is not as specific as the other X-rays because
its purpose is to show the general condition of all the teeth.
It is used to help view- general tooth development; trauma; jaw joint
pain; wisdom teeth and certain abnormalities. It will give a broad view but does
not provide the fine detail that Bite-Wings or P.A.s provide.
This X-ray is to be taken every 5-7 years
as you can see no matter how much Dr. Peterson checks your mouth there are still
things he can NOT see without the use of X-rays. They are a vital and necessary
part of your dental diagnostic process. Without
them certain conditions can and will be missed.
Many diseases would go
undetected for a long period of time if only the patient allows visual
examinations. Thus early detection
of diseases such as cancer, diseases of the jaw and teeth would be difficult to
determine and could otherwise go completely undetected causing you to possibly
need drastic treatments in the future which could have been avoided through
early detection by a simple X-ray.
Your history of dental X-rays can also prove
very helpful in tracking the effectiveness of treatment and for future
comparison especially if you have a dental emergency. In addition they are
valuable in diagnosing developmental problems in children such as misalignment
and improper eruption of adult teeth. Dental X-rays are one of the tools we need
to use to get a COMPLETE picture of your dental health.
Effects of Radiation
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) just
released a report on the health effects of very low doses of
radiation. This report was developed after an investigation of
the theory that there is a threshold dose of radiation below
which cancer is not induced. According to the chair of the
committee that developed the report, the health risk posed by
radiation from x-rays and other health procedures is so small
that it should not deter people from seeking needed medical
care. However, the report supports previously reported risk
estimates and states, "It is unlikely that there is a threshold
below which cancer (is) not induced."
The committee estimated that 1 out of 100 people would likely
develop solid cancer or leukemia from an exposure to 100
millisievert of radiation over a lifetime, with half of those
cases being fatal. The report states that in the United
States people are exposed to background radiation at an average
dose of 3 millisieverts annually, and according to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, the radiation dose from a
dental x-ray ranges from 0.04 to 0.15 millisievert.
ADA Updates June 2005
(dental x-ray pictures courtesy of
Dental Radiography Guidelines
New radiograph guidelines 2005
Guidelines for Prescribing X-Rays
XRay safety for staff
no problem with cancers
problem with low birth weight
most extensive paper
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