The Whole Picture: Dental X-Rays

Dental inspection technology has come a long way. It’s now possible to find tooth decay, even in its early stages, using  DIAGNOdent laser cavity detection; digital cameras allow us to magnify and zoom in on problems invisible to the naked eye. However, early tooth decay and periodontal disease may escape detection during a routine exam. That’s why dental radiography is an irreplaceable diagnostic tool.

Many patients express concern about exposure to radiation during dental imaging, especially when they see technicians and dentists leaving the room! While no radiation exposure is ever completely safe, dental x-rays emit very little radiation – about as much as you get from flying cross-country. You’ll also wear a lead apron to block any x-rays that scatter during the procedure. Technicians spend all day around x-rays, so they need to minimize their exposure.

If you have orthodontia, you’ll need regular imaging to check on your progress. You might also need more regular x-rays if you smoke, have periodontal disease, or have chronic dry mouth. New methods use less radiation, and newer films have shorter exposure times. Digital radiography now allows dentists to take x-rays without using film. A sensor similar to those in digital cameras captures an image, which can be stored securely and sent electronically to other dentists and health care professionals.

Before implants, surgery, or extractions, you may need to have new exposures taken. You might also need x-rays to check on restorative work, the progress of periodontal disease, or to determine if certain symptoms indicate a dental problem or other health concern. We can answer your questions about dental x-rays. Contact our office today at (732) 425-4400 for information or to schedule an appointment.