Digital x-rays, also known as digital radiographs, are a valuable preventative and diagnostic tool within dentistry. A large percentage of each tooth is below the gum line, as well as the roots and other supporting structures. Since these elements of your mouth aren’t visible to the naked eye, digital x-rays are used so that your dentist can visualize them to monitor their condition and health and to diagnose any issues that may be affecting them. Some of the abnormalities that can be detected using a routine digital x-ray include:
Abscesses and cysts
Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
Decay between the teeth and that extends below the gum line
Poor tooth and root positioning
Anything else that may be happening below the gums
By detecting dental problems early on, you can potentially prevent yourself from unnecessary pain and other unpleasant symptoms, as well as saving money on expensive dental treatments.
Unless your dentist specifically needs you to have a dental x-ray because they believe there to be a problem that requires assessing, most professionals will recommend that you have one annual digital x-ray each year. This is carried out as a preventative measure since not all dental problems will present with symptoms right away. The results of your digital x-ray will be stored and can be compared with in the future if your dentist feels it is necessary.
Many people have concerns about the safety of digital x-rays since they use radiation. However, digital x-rays use far lower amounts of radiation than conventional varieties – by as much as 90%! In fact, the amount of radiation you are exposed to during a dental x-ray is less than the average daily dose we receive through our usual day to day activities – such as using a cell phone or microwave or being in the sun. As such, they are considered extremely safe and the benefits of routine digital x-rays far outweigh the very small degree of risk associated with them.
There are varying reasons why dentists recommend that patients have at least one digital x-ray each year. Some of the key benefits of routine digital x-rays include:
Your dentist can thoroughly monitor the health and condition of your oral structures below the gumline.
The quality of the images is superior to those achieved through conventional radiographs.
There is less radiation used in digital x-rays than conventional varieties.
The images are uploaded and stored digitally, reducing the risk of them becoming lost. They can also be emailed/sent to other professionals who may be involved in your care or any treatment that you need.
Reduced wait time. If you are waiting for the results of your x-ray, you won’t have to wait so long if you choose a digital variety.
Digital x-rays are a valuable tool in assessing the effectiveness of treatment and can help ensure the longevity of your smile.
For more information on the benefits of routine digital x-rays, please contact our dental offices in Irvine, CA.