X-Rays Necessary, But Radiation Not So Much

Are X-rays necessary? Are X-rays safe? These are the questions I get everyday. Dental x-rays are necessary for accurate diagnosis of many dental conditions. They allow me to see decay between the teeth (even though some patients call me superman I am not). They also can diagnosis problems of the mouth, bones, jaw and some other medical problems that I can not see during a routine oral exam. X-rays let me see problems early so we can avoid pain if problems go on undetected.

One major problem is carotid artery disease which can be found in a routine Panographic x-ray (see note from a patient, below). Our office for the past ten years has had digital x-rays.

Digital instead of the the small film x-rays help our patients with 8 times less radiation and helps the environment without using films or chemicals. Digital x-rays are sent instantly to the computer and can be viewed right away.

Looking at a very large screen of an x-ray is much easier than looking at a small x-ray (see the picture, top left). They are stored on the computer and can be printed or sent out. Steps are still taken to limit exposure to radiation, although minimal compared to film, we still shield patients. X-rays are important! Don’t refuse them if the dentist says they are necessary.

Dr. Wayne Scheff