Every other dental visit, it seems like the hygienist or dentist wants to take a set of dental X-rays. On goes the lead apron and you have to deal with the bite plates. They say it’s safe, but they leave the room. Are they really necessary and are they really not dangerous?
The answer to both is “yes” – though we need to dig deeper to learn more about X-rays and what they do. You will find out in the end that they are indeed important and that you are in little to no danger having them done to you.
What Are X-Rays?
The first thing you need to know is what exactly they are. The dentist uses very low levels of x-ray radiation to take images of your teeth. These can see inside of your teeth, which is important since the physical exam can catch a lot, but they can’t see any interior decay that may be occurring. They can also help detect jaw bone diseases, periodontal disease, gum infections, and even some types of tumors, which might otherwise go undetected.
They have been around for over 100 years, with the first ones being done in 1896 by Charles Edmund Kells. The American Dental Association quickly adapted it for use and over the decades, they integrated it. During the 1950s, dentists made it part of their yearly routine. Since then, there have been many advances that make them even safer for use.
In past days, the process was a bit more arduous and time-consuming. The X-rays had to be made in another room using chemicals that could be dangerous for anyone who was in there for too long a period. That has all changed with the X-rays now being sent right to a computer. There are also ones that can do 3-d images and make it extra simple for the dentist to take a closer look.
The clear X-rays are important. The days of the dentist putting up the x-rays on a lightboard are quickly receding into the past. It’s much simpler for them to interpret what they are seeing and they can spot issues that they may have missed in earlier times. This is an added boon for you since they can take care of problems that they see much earlier and keep you from having to have expensive work done.
As technology continues to improve, so will the ways to get images of one’s teeth. There are ways to do it now without the need for bitewings, but they need to be a bit more commonplace before they can be widespread – that is, it can’t be so new that dentists have to spend an exorbitant amount of money to get them. Still, periapical x-rays (which can see the whole tooth). panoramic X-rays (which can show the whole mouth rather than having to have them taken in sections) are things look forward to… and do it in a safe way.
There are exceptions to those who can get X-rays. Pregnant women should definitely avoid getting X-rays, since there is a risk to the developing baby. Those who are thinking of getting pregnant soon should also tell the dentist. Otherwise, pretty much anyone of any age, including children, should be able to get these X-rays. Their teeth will thank them.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is that you need to have these done at least once a year so that the dentist can keep track of any changes that occur. The X-rays, which are done so much faster and require so much less work and are easier to read now that they are digital, can be a great tool to making sure that your mouth is in the condition that it needs to be.
So… do not worry when you sit in the dental chair and have these X-rays done. They are proven to be safe. You can direct your attention to making sure that you stick to a strong oral health routine at home so that your dental visits can go smoothly each and every time.
Dr. Robert Trager has been working X-rays for many years over the course of his career. He will ensure that you are in the safest environment possible while also verifying that your teeth and gums are in excellent condition.Do you have any questions? Be sure to ask him next time you come to JFK-LGA Dentist… he will gladly answer them. He’s easy to reach from anyone in the Queens area. Give him a call today to make an appointment – 718-656-4747.