Are the Digital X-Rays at the Dentist Office Harmful? How much Radiation does it Give Off?
1) How much Radiation comes from a Dental X-Ray? Dental x-rays are a useful diagnostic tool when helping your dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. Dental x-ray exams are safe; they emit very low levels of radiation exposure, which makes the risk of potentially harmful effects very small. Dental x-rays are one of the lowest radiation dose studies performed. A routine exam which includes 4 bitewings is about 0.005 mSv, which is less than one day of natural background radiation (walking outside). It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure from a short 1-2 hour airplane flight. At URBN Dental, we utilize very low radiation NOMAD X-Ray Systems. This X-Ray system is specially designed to emit some of the lowest levels of radiation.
2) How Often do I need Dental X-Rays? The frequency of getting x-rays of your teeth often depends on your medical and dental history and current condition. Some people may need x-rays as often as every six months; others with no recent dental or gum disease and who visit their dentist regularly may get x-rays only every couple of years In fact, digital x-rays use up to 90 percent less radiation than film x-rays. While conventional dental x-rays are relatively safe, digital radiography is an excellent option for those who take x-rays on a regular basis or for those who are concerned about radiation.
3) So what is the Harm with Dental X-Rays? Higher radiation-dose imaging. Most of the increased exposure in the United States is due to CT scanning and nuclear imaging, which require larger radiation doses than traditional x-rays. A chest x-ray, for example, delivers 0.1 mSv, while a chest CT delivers 7 mSv- 70 times as much. Sometimes patients may need a conebeam x-ray to look at bone density or allow the Dentist to see how an Implant would be placed into a particular bone area, these emit higher levels of X-Rays.
4) What Kind of X-Rays are Taken at a Dentist Office? A full mouth series (FMX) is a complete set of intraoral x-rays taken of a patients’ teeth and adjacent hard tissue. This is often abbreviated as either FMS or FMX (or CMRS, meaning Complete Mouth Radiographic Series). The full mouth series is composed of 18 films, taken the same day: four bitewings. The X-Rays allow the Dentist to now only look at the root structure of all of your teeth, but also allow the Dentist to diagnose any underlying pathology or cavities. The X-Rays show the level of bone and any necessity for Root Canals as well.
5) What is a Digital X-Ray? Digital radiography is a form of X-ray imaging, where digital X-ray sensors are used instead of traditional photographic film. This is an advanced way of taking digital images. Advantages include time efficiency through bypassing chemical processing of the films in a dark room and also the ability to digitally transfer and enhance images. Not only do digital x-rays expose patients and staff to up to 90% less radiation than traditional film x-rays, they also have the following additional benefits: They are better for the environment because they don’t require developing. They can be viewed on a computer monitor within seconds of taking the image.
6) What are the Benefits of X-Rays? The benefits of X-rays are well known: They help dentists diagnose common problems, such as cavities, gum disease and some types of infections. Radiographs allow dentists to see inside a tooth and beneath the gums to assess the health of the bone and supporting tissues that hold teeth in place.
7) How much do these Dental X-Rays Cost? The more information a Dentist receives the better, you will more than likely need more than one X-Ray. The highest cost you would likely pay would be for a full-mouth series of X-Rays of all of your teeth will run you anywhere from $100-$200. Most insurances cover this x-ray at 100%. If you have dental insurance more than likely you will not have to pay it.
8) Are there any other type of Photographs that the Dentist will take? Intraoral X-rays are the most common type of radiograph taken in dentistry. They give a high level of detail of the tooth, bone and supporting tissues of the mouth. These X-rays allow dentists to: Find cavities Look at the tooth roots Check the health of the bony area around the tooth Determine if periodontal disease is an oral care issue See the status of developing teeth Otherwise, monitor good tooth health through prevention
9) Are X-Rays really necessary? According to the ADA, many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when your dentist examines your mouth without X-rays.
An X-ray may reveal:small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing fillings; infections in the bone; periodontal disease; abscesses or cysts; developmental abnormalities; some types of tumors.
10) How Often should X-Rays be Taken? How often X-rays should be taken depends on the patient’s individual health needs. Your dentist will review your history, examine your mouth and then decide whether you need radiographs and what type. If you are a new patient, the dentist may recommend radiographs to determine the present status of the hidden areas of your mouth and to help analyze changes that may occur later. If you have had recent radiographs at your previous dentist, your new dentist may ask you to have the radiographs forwarded.