Digital Dental X-Rays
Dental radiographs (often called x-rays) are an important part of your dental care. Along with an oral examination, they provide your dentist with a more complete view of what’s happening in your mouth. A dental radiograph gives your dentist a picture of your hard tissues (teeth and bones) and the soft tissues that surround your teeth and jawbones. For example, dental radiographs may help your dentist see caries (tooth decay) that develops between the teeth or under restorations (fillings); diseases in the bone; periodontal (gum) disease; infections that develop under your gums; some types of tumors. Dental radiographs can alert your dentist to changes in your hard and soft tissues. In children, radiographs allow the dentist to see how their teeth and jawbones are developing. Like medical radiographs, dental radiographs allow your dentist to evaluate any injuries to your face and mouth. Dental radiographs can help your dentist identify diseases and developmental problems before they become serious health issues. Early detection of an infection or injury also can limit or prevent further damage to other areas of the mouth
Some people wonder if dental radiographs are safe because they expose the patient to radiation. Several factors and practices work together to make dental radiography safe. Dentists follow the ALARA principle, which stands for “As Low As Reasonably Achievable,” when obtaining radiographs. This radiation safety principle limits your exposure by incorporating the following techniques: use of the fastest image receptor (that is, the fastest film speed or digital speed); reduction in the size of the x-ray beam to the size of the image receptor whenever possible; use of proper exposure and processing techniques; use of leaded aprons and, whenever possible, thyroid collars.
This chart should aid in the understanding of digital dental xray radiation exposures.