Here at Advanced Dental Arts NW, we use digital dental x-rays for their ease of use and their crisp images. The Oregon Board of Dentistry requires all dental offices to have current radiographs prior to treatment as it is considered the “standard of care.” You simply cannot do as complete and comprehensive a dental examination without these, nor can you confirm the proper seating of most restorations without a radiograph. All that having been said, patients are right to be concerned about the cumulative effects of radiation, and we routinely discuss this with them. Perhaps a word or two below about digital dental x-rays in Portland will help address these questions:
First of all, Dr. Lee and our team use “universal precautions” to assure that we expose the patient to the least amount of radiation necessary. We always use lead aprons, with thyroid protection, to completely block any “scatter radiation” from entering the body. Our x-ray units have extremely restricted beams that expose only the areas we need to scan.
With the advent of digital dental radiography, (or digital x-rays) we have been able to cut even these minimal exposure times by 90% or more. The image is picked up on a sensor plate rather than on film and is entered directly into the computer. The computer then enables us to magnify, increase or decrease contrast, or otherwise alter the image to enable us to pick out details that may otherwise be hidden.
The digital dental x-ray process completely eliminates the need for films, their packaging, and the chemicals necessary to process those films, so it is a big benefit to the ecosystem.
Today, even full “wrap-around” and whole-head x-rays are digital. They allow us to see details that may otherwise have remained hidden, and hence we can treat dental patients to a far higher standard than ever before. The computer images also give us the ability to better explain procedures to our patients so that understanding increases across the board.
Although the best amount of x-rays is zero, with digital radiography, we are better able to reduce the amount of radiation exposure to a negligible amount. In fact, with digital dental x-rays, the total radiation someone is exposed to is far less than what they would receive on a sunny summer day.
And, it has been calculated that the total amount of radiation one receives on a two-hour plane flight is greater than a lifetime’s worth of dental digital x-rays.