Let’s deal with a subject that many patients have asked us about, and that is dental x-rays. Here at Advanced Dental Arts NW, your premiere SW Portland dentist, we use digital x-rays for their ease of use and their advanced imaging of patients’ mouth and bone.X-rays, and especially digital x-rays, are a wonderful tool in diagnosing all sorts of medical and dental diseases, because they let us “see” changes that are invisible or hidden from direct vision or probing. In this way, we can catch decay very early, before it has caused significant dental damage, so we can restore a tooth with the bare minimum of discomfort and loss of solid tooth structure. We can also assess the appropriateness of bone for any dental implants, or the condition of the roots or nerve of the teeth. We can also screen for cysts, or any impacted teeth, far within the bone. Hence, radiographs and digital x-rays can not only be life-changing, but also life-saving. Early diagnosis is, if not everything, at least extremely valuable when looking at your
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 an 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 cumulative effects of radiation, and we routinely discuss this with them. Perhaps a word or two here will help address these questions:
First of all, Dr. Teasdale, your SW Portland dentist and his 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, of the most minimal field, to expose only the area we want.
But with the advent of digital radiography, ( or 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. Then the computer 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.
Plus, of course, this 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.
As one of the leading dentists in SW Portland, OR. Dr. Teasdale and his team have been a pioneer in the use of digital x-rays, dating from the mid-1990’s, and now even our full-“wrap-around” and whole head images are digital. We see details that may otherwise have remained hidden, and hence can treat to a far higher standard than ever before. The computer images also give us the ability to better explain procedures and reasons to our patients, so that understanding increases across the board.
Although the best amount of x-rays is zero, we are able through digital images to reduce the amount of whole body exposure to a negligible amount. With digital x-ray images, the total whole body radiation is far less than you would receive on a bright sunny summer day, as opposed to a more moderate spring or autumn day.