Did you know that x-rays play a huge role in dental diagnosis? They are often the only way to detect cavities developing between the teeth or discover problems below the gum line such as bone loss and abscesses. X-rays provide a visual window into otherwise hidden areas of the mouth… without x-rays, it’s like trying to practice dentistry in the dark!
Many patients are wary of x-rays due to radiation exposure. At our office, we use digital x-rays. Digital x-rays result in lower exposure to radiation than the traditional x-rays of days gone by. The level of exposure for a digital dental x-ray is quite low, particularly when compared to other types of x-rays and medical scans, but also in the context of the overall radiation a person is exposed to annually. For someone who gets digital dental bitewing x-rays yearly, taking the images would account for less than 1% of the annual radiation exposure a person is expected to receive on average.
Using the unit of measurement for radiation mREM, a standard dental x-ray delivers about .5-.9 mREM. A person generally receives about 360-600 mREM from background sources over the course of an average year. Background sources of radiation include space, the sun, the ground, the air, and seemingly benign things in our surroundings that actually emit radiation. Cooking with Natural Gas exposes a person to about 10 mREM per year (due to the Radon in the natural gas) and living in a brick home adds another 10-20 mREM (versus living in a wooden home). Cross-country plane travel can expose someone to 3-10 times as much radiation as one standard set of dental x-rays, and having a mammogram is estimated to be the equivalent to approximately 80 or more digital dental x-rays!
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we are committed to taking the greatest care of your teeth that we can, and x-rays are an indispensable part of that! Your x-rays allow Dr. Vancil to make a better, faster, and more reliable diagnosis. With digital x-rays, the image appears on the screen right away, allowing your dental healthcare team to see what is happening immediately. So, the next time you come to our office and find out that an x-ray is needed, you can rest easy knowing that you need not worry any more about these helpful images than you would about flying to New York or Miami and back, or living in a brick house… isn’t that something to smile about!