There’s no two ways about it: the use of X-rays revolutionized health care. The technology facilitated better diagnostics and produced more accurate diagnoses. This allowed for highly targeted treatment, resulting in greatly improved health outcomes. The field of dentistry has certainly been enhanced by X-rays and their ability to reveal problems inside the teeth and beneath the gumline. However, there are two sides to every coin and medical X-rays are not without disadvantages. Primarily, we’re talking about exposure to radiation, which is a concern for both patients and dental care providers. Addressing this issue demanded improvement in technology — and medical science responded with a breakthrough technology: Digital X-rays. This safer alternative has once again revolutionized diagnostics and treatment. Let’s take a closer look.
Dental X-ray Use
Before we get into the ways the X-ray process has improved, let’s see how traditional X-rays have been beneficial for dental care.
Dental X-Rays: Types and Reasons for Use
Several basic types of intraoral X-rays and extraoral X-rays may be required to diagnose oral problems:
Bitewing: If your dentist has checked you for cavities, you’ve likely had a bitewing X-ray. You’ll be asked to bite down on special paper to match up your crowns and is most useful for finding interdental dental caries (cavities between your teeth).
Periapical: To see the whole tooth from root to crown, your dentist may use this kind of X-ray. It generally singles out a specific portion of teeth on either your upper or lower jaw.
Occlusal: This X-ray is good for seeing tooth placement of one entire arch. This is another X-ray used to see the placement of teeth. Read more at Ask The Dentist…
As you can see, dental X-rays have many critical uses for diagnosis and treatment. With the fast-growing popularity of dental implants for tooth replacement, this has only accelerated in recent years.
Traditional Dental X-ray Risks
Though they were necessary for decades to ensure reliable dental treatment — and despite of our best mitigation efforts — traditional dental X-rays have always increased cancer risks to a degree due to radiation exposure. This informative piece explains more:
The incidence of thyroid cancers and meningiomas have increased in many countries during the past three decades, the researchers report. Much of the increase in thyroid cancer rates is probably due to increased surveillance, screening, and over-diagnosis, the researchers said, but they believe other causes need investigation.
The thyroid gland’s location in the back of the neck and the meninges’ location in the brain and spinal cord leave these organs exposed to radiation from dental X-rays. Both organs are highly radiosensitive, particularly in childhood and adolescence. Dental radiography, a source of low-dose diagnostic radiation, often is overlooked as a potential hazard, the researchers said. Read more at Dentistry Today…
As you can see, for the overwhelming good offered by traditional X-rays, there have always been legitimate concerns. The need to improve this technology led to the creation of digital X-rays, which drastically reduce patient exposure to radiation.
Digital X-ray Innovation
To begin, we should learn how digital X-rays work and how they minimize radiation exposure. This article provides good info:
Digital X-rays allow us to produce high-quality images of your teeth that can be viewed instantly by you and your dentist on a high-definition LCD monitor.
Digital X-rays reduce radiation by up to 90% and provide exceptional diagnostic information to ensure that potential problems are caught in their earliest stages.
Intra-oral photography is another advancement that is used in addition to our digital X-rays. With intra-oral photography, problems such as cavities, fractures and discolorations in the teeth are captured through clear and sharp photographic images that are taken with an intra-oral digital camera. Read more at Bright Young Smiles…
By this point, you can see how important it is to have a dentist who embraces the latest technology. Dr. Robert Harrell is known for staying on the cutting-edge of treatment at Harrell Dental Implant Center. He is the leading dental implant provider in the Charlotte region and the use of advanced dental implant technology is a critical part of his success. If you’ve been searching for an implant provider who’s tech-savvy and highly experienced, you need to see Dr. Harrell. Call Harrell Dental Implant Center at 704-206-1330 to make your appointment; or, use the contact form on the website. We look forward to hearing from you.