Dentists use X-rays to give insight into some of the most elusive dental health issues to the naked eye. Using digital radiography can not only diagnose problems, but also develop treatment plans. Dental 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.
Radiation dosage of dental radiography
While no ionizing radiation is completely safe, dental radiography exposes 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.
Dental X-ray Safety
We understand that the modern dental patient is informed, armed with questions, and concerned with safety. Digital X-rays use up to 80 percent less radiation than the already tiny amounts in traditional X-rays. In addition, our digital X-rays are immediately available on a computer screen. No more waiting for processing or using harmful chemicals to develop the film.
Diagnostic Dental X-rays
Your dental X-rays can tell a significant story about your dental health. In most cases, dental X-rays help Dr. Fondriest discover tooth decay hidden beneath the surface or too difficult to see with the naked eye. X-ray images can also show cavities or tiny tooth cracks beneath dental restorations. In addition, we can see areas of jawbone damage from abscess, gum disease, dental injury, or tooth loss. Dental X-rays are also helpful for pinpointing signs of oral cancer.
Types of dental radiography
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.
Dental Care in Lake Forest
Diagnostics are only part of how dental radiography can benefit oral health care. Radiographs can also assist treatment planning for orthodontic treatment, cosmetic dentistry, and dental implant placement. For more information about dental X-rays or to schedule a dental checkup with Dr. Fondriest, contact our Lake Forest dental office at 847-234-0517.