Radiography is an irreplaceable diagnostic tool. Dental x-rays show issues like tooth decay, misalignment, soft tissue damage, and periodontal disease that escape visual detection. Children generally need regular x-rays to check on the progress of budding teeth and orthodontia, while most adults get x-rays infrequently. However, if you smoke, have periodontal disease, orthodontia, or chronic dry mouth, you may need more regular imaging.
The most common type of dental x-rays are called bitewing x-rays. You’ve probably had at least one of these – do you remember biting down on the film holder? This view allows your dentist to see all of your teeth in a panorama, and is very effective for finding tooth decay. X-rays taken from different angles may concentrate on just a few teeth, or on gums and other soft tissues.
If you are getting implants or certain kinds of surgery (like wisdom teeth extraction), you may need a computerized tomography (CT) scan. Digital CT scans take images from every angle to create a 3D image of your jaws and teeth; this image is used by surgeons and restorative dentists who work with Dr. Fondriest. You might also need a CT scan if you have advanced periodontal disease or other oral conditions that have caused bone loss.
While no ionizing radiation is completely safe, dental x-rays expose you to about as much radiation as a flight from coast to coast. You are normally exposed to twice as much ionizing radiation every day; sources include cosmic radiation from stellar bodies, coal-fired power plants, computer monitors, and even bananas. Medical imaging accounts for 15% or more of the total radiation dose you receive in a year.
Dr. James Fondriest is committed to patient education and will discuss the benefits and risks of dental x-rays before your procedure. Contact Lake Forest Dental Arts today at (847) 234-0517 to schedule an appointment.