Digital X-rays, also known as radiographs, are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan. They are diagnostic, but they can also be preventive, by helping a dentist diagnose potential oral care issues in a patient’s mouth before they become a major problem.
- Find cavities
- Look at the tooth roots
- Check the health of the bony area around the tooth
- Help diagnose periodontal disease
- See the status of developing teeth
Most of the modern dental offices use digital x-rays these days. There are several benefits to using digital radiography over traditional film X-rays:
- Less Radiation— Digital X-rays use up to 90 percent less radiation than film based X-rays. While conventional dental X-rays are relatively safe, digital radiography is an excellent option for those who take X-rays on a regular basis or for those who are concerned about radiation.
- Shorter Dental Appointments— Digital radiography can also shorten your dental appointment! With traditional dental X-rays, you’ll have to wait while your dentist develops the film. With digital radiography, the sensor develops the picture almost instantly and projects it onto a computer screen right before your eyes.
- Higher Quality Images— The standard size of traditional X-rays can make viewing difficult, but digital X-rays can be enlarged or magnified for a better visual of the tooth’s structure. Brightness, contrast and color can also be adjusted, allowing your dentist to see small cavities
- Transferring Dental Records— Digital images can be e-mailed to a dental specialist for immediate review, making it easier to transfer dental records or get a second opinion.
- Environmentally Friendly— Digital dental X-rays are better for the environment! With digital radiography, no chemicals are used to develop film.
A leaded apron minimizes exposure to the abdomen and may be used when it will not interfere with acquisition of the dental radiograph. Also, a leaded thyroid collar can protect the thyroid from radiation, and should also be used whenever possible. The use of a leaded thyroid collar is recommended for women of childbearing age, pregnant women and children.
Are you pregnant? Make sure to tell your dentist. During your pregnancy, you may need to have X-rays taken as part of your treatment plan for a dental disease, especially emergencies. Use of the leaded apron and thyroid collar will protect you and your fetus from radiation exposure. According to the American College of Radiology, no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus. According to the ADA and ACOG, having dental X-rays during your pregnancy is considered safe with appropriate shielding.